Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

Senators Mitch McConnell (R-SC), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) . . .(and George Orwell)

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 A 1984 commercial for Microsoft’s new MacIntosh personal computer promised  “. . . 1984 won’t be like 1984”.  They were right.  1984 wasn’t like 1984.

In his classic novel, 1984, George Orwell presents us with a totalitarian dystopia, Oceana, in a state of perpetual war with the two remaining “superpowers” in the world, Eurasia and Eastasia; siding first with one then the other of the two, but always in a state of war.

It is now 2013 and we may be on the verge of realizing Orwell’s nightmare.  Two United States Senators, Mitch McConnell (R-SC) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) are planning to introduce a resolution urging the United States government to support Israel militarily, economically and diplomatically should the Jewish state be compelled to attack Iran.  Basically, what this resolution is saying is, “Go ahead.  Attack Iran.  It’s okay with us.  We’ll even help.”  We wouldn’t have to start another war; we can have our “ally” do it for us.  The United States would be obliged, for a number of reasons besides this resolution, to go to war with Iran.  Essentially, we would find ourselves at (or very near) a perpetual state of war (the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “winding down” but they’re still being fought); a war started, not for “our way of life” or “to defend our freedom”, a war fought for profit.  There’s a great deal of money to be made in a war, apart from oil and the territorial spoils.

Defense contractors like Halliburton will provide men (security contractors — read “mercenaries”) and material.  Arms manufacturers, airplane, tank, troop carrier manufacturers will provide weaponry and transportation; clothing manufacturers and makers of body armor will provide support.  Armies need to be fed; food suppliers like Sodexo will see that the army is supplied with food and fed.  And all of this will be provided at rock bottom inflated prices (can’t be too cheap where “our boys” are concerned).  Back home, someone has to make all this stuff, so there will be jobs, lots and lots of jobs (at rock bottom rates, to be sure).  Think this is a little far-fetched?

Another feature of Orwell’s nightmare vision was “Newspeak“.  “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotee of Ingsoc,” Orwell explains, “but to make all other modes of thought impossible.”  Politicians, especially conservative politicians (neo-cons), have been using a form of Newspeak for generations.  We think of it as “the usual political b.s., but it’s more than mere b.s.  It’s not only a language, and for most of us a foreign one, it’s a way of thinking, often contrary to demonstrable facts.  Sound familiar?

But what about the people, you say.  Surely they can vote these jackals out of office and stop this insanity.  Right?  Presently, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is before the Supreme Court (see my blog post, Justice Scalia & SCOTUS . . .(W-T-F, Tony?!).  It’s being challenged as unnecessary in today’s society.  There are people alive today who remember why the VRA was created; to afford people (people of color) who were previously prevented from exercising their constitutional right to vote the opportunity to vote, free from discrimination and coercion.  It took a very long time and a great deal of blood to get the Voting Rights Act passed into law.  This happened nearly 50 years ago and those who took part in the battle (and those of us who saw the dogs and truncheons and fire hoses used on those who fought for civil rights (and their lives), both black and white) are aging and the benefits which, in many cases, allow us to continue are in jeopardy.  When we pass from the scene, who will be left to remember?  A society obsessed with its youth and an increasingly irrelevant pop culture and the ever-expanding technology which allows them to access it without interacting with it.

If a law ceases to be, it is as though it never was and if all the records tell the same tale, as Winston Smith (Orwell’s “hero” in 1984) observes, then they pass into history and become the truth.  So much for a voting population.

We are, as we have been at various times throughout history, at a crossroads.  Are we to become a nation “at peace everywhere in the world”, as President Jimmy Carter once observed.  Or are we to become like the Oceana of 1984; perpetually at war and powerless to do anything about it?

Scared yet?  You should be.  (I told you in my previous post it would be interesting!)



One Response

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  1. This sounds eerily like the Iran-Iraq War that WAS in the 1980s (and I do believe 1984 was a part of that, if memory serves). Obviously, one does not have to be well-read or even remotely understanding of modern history in order to bullshit one’s way onto the national and international political scene. I can certainly see that history is, in fact, going to repeat itself. ::sigh::

    Colleen Faler

    March 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm

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