The United States of Oceania?

The United States of Oceania?

We have survived into the second week of President Trump’s America and to say this has been a newsworthy few days is an understatement.  In just over one week there have been over a dozen Presidential Executive Orders including some that impose unconstitutional overreach on specific segments of the population.  Through it all, the President has opted to attempt to underscore his legitimacy by floating the rightwing go-to argument of pervasive voter fraud.  This is playing out before the backdrop of the overarching intertwined issues of which facts, (empirical, experiential or “alternative”) will determine truth, who will control the frame of the message and which source or sources will be recognized as a legitimate deliverers of it.  This real time in-your-face passion play has gotten the attention of enough people for what are hopefully all the right reasons.  As most regular readers are aware, I have long been a fan of the works of George Orwell but not even I could promote his most famous work this effectively.

Classic Novel ‘1984’ Sales Are Up In The Era Of ‘Alternative Facts’

Additional sad news from this past week include the passing of the British screen actor John Hurt.  I must admit I was a little disappointed to see that my favorite role of his which he so artfully portrayed, that of Winston Smith in the film 1984received little if any billing in Mr. Hurt’s obituary.

   

All this new found interest in a novel about a dystopian futuristic totalitarian society first published in 1949 has given me a breath of hope in the face of the direction the nation seems to be moving after a week of President Trump’s leadership.  His quest to keep the American people safe by imposing a ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations has not fostered a great deal of confidence.  Please do remember, this is the man who now has access to the nuclear launch codes.

We have been sliding this direction ever since last summer.  Remember this offering of insight after the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July?  Mr. Trump, with mounting evidence of help from outside foreign sources, successfully marketed his brand of invented reality and is now in the process of legitimizing it from the bully pulpit of the Oval Office.  The stage is set for a Big Brother type government waging an ongoing, endless foreign war fought in the name of peace under the banner of “Defense,” lying to the public via a “Truth Administration” concerned with promoting alternative facts and who knows where the similarities with one of the most powerful works of fiction ever written will end.  The author of 1984, George Orwell, once issued a dark and foreboding warning against the very specter it feels like we are all now witnessing in the first person.

A Final Warning from George Orwell

“Allowing for the book to be a parody, something like 1984 could actually happen.  This is the direction the World is going in at the present time.  In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph and self-abasement.  The sex instinct will be eradicated.  We shall abolish the orgasm.  There will be no loyalty except loyalty to the Party.  But always there is be the intoxication of power.  Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy that is helpless.  If you want a picture of the future imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.  The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one, DON’T LET IT HAPPEN!!!  IT DEPENDS ON YOU!!!”

If we have not heeded Mr. Orwell’s warning yet then we had better do so now.  I fear that it may be too late to pull the nation back from the brink of where we see it going.  The growing number of people who are committing themselves to activism build hope that my fears won’t be realized.  The more we organize, educate and push back against one-party rule the better our chances against our subjugation by what is starting bear the earmarks of the sort of regime that appeals to our worst fears.  As the stage is set for a Big Brother type government so is the pathway to overturning Roe v Wade and making it official that sex will only be for procreation.  The war in Afghanistan in now in its sixteenth year with no signs of ending anytime soon.  We have a group in the White House that always seems to find a scapegoat for their failure, actual or perceived, and and willing to spare no expense of any reality to ensure their version of facts is all that is given credence.  The further we go into this new and surreal era the more and more it seems we resemble Oceania than we do a constitutional republic subject to the rule of law.  Have we become novel?  Have we become caricature?  Have we become the very enemy we thought we were fighting all our lives?  What would any of us tell Mr. Orwell?  The time is now to realize where we are and where we are going.  I can only hope the benevolence of the American nation embodied by the Constitution withstands this increasingly surreal onslaught.