Per NPR, Signet Classics Publishing ordered 75,000 reprints of the novel 1984. I offer an alternative way to look at the First Seven Days of the Trump experiment. Sure, read 1984 because since September 2001, we have already been living in a country in which companies and government agencies spy on us. In disguise of “safety” we are being observed. So, for those who fear Trump will take us into a 1984 dystopian society you are 15 years too late. To get perspective on Trump look at Inherit the Wind, Scarlet Letter, The Crucible and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Kellyanne Conway might have been the inspiration for the rebirth of 1984. Her statement on “Alternative Facts” remind readers of 1984 as “Doublespeak.” Yet, this past election was butchered with alternative facts. Since Nixon’s Watergate, every scandal has the word “gate” at the end of it. Alternative Facts exist in “Pizzagate,” “Pissgate,” and “Deflategate.” An investigation takes place with the order of piecing together facts in a way to cause speculation. I do not think the Podestas are part of a pedophile kidnapping ring, I don’t think Trump had hookers pee on a bed Obama slept in, and I think all teams in the NFL try and get an edge. No, 1984 is not the perspective that explains what is troubling about the past seven days.
Let’s look at the nomination of Secretary of Education. I wonder if Betsy Devos has ever seen Inherit the Wind? In 1925 in the state of Tennessee it was illegal to teach Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Almost a century later evolution is still (believe it or not) a confrontational issue. When you watch Inherit the Wind one can see how incongruent facts can be manipulated to show probable cause. It shows that an individual should be allowed to think for themselves and not be intimidated by the majority. This work of historical fiction (based of the real Scopes Monkey Trial) is not just a simple model of Republicans are backwards and Democrats are smart. There are tremendous complications in our society. The constitution clearly states that government and religion are separate. Evolution, Abortion, Marriage Equality, and Symbolism (Flag Burning) are wedge issues that divide people into tribes. In the last seven days’ tribalism, has morphed into something scarier than Donald Trump’s twitter.
In the novel, the Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne was the original Teen Mom without a MTV show. The modern-day fight for Women’s Health Rights are very like the symbolic letter “A” worn daily by Hester. Her lover, who was a reverend, escaped the same scrutiny that she received for being an adulteress. Sound familiar? The novel partially explains why women massed on every continent to protest the election and inauguration of President Trump.
In the Crucible, Arthur Miller uses the tragic paranoia of the Salem Witch Hunts to parallel Senator Joseph McCarthy’s accusations that America was being taken over by secret communists. We are once again revisiting the Un-American Activities Committee of the 1950’s by banning travel and immigration from countries that “potentially” support “terrorism.” While terrorism is like communism (especially when looking at ISIS) terror is an ideology. Defeating an ideology or a religion is not possible. Knowing what is in the mind of a person, is not possible. Torturing confessions out of people to change their thoughts has never worked. If it had, the Spanish Inquisition would be celebrated and the Salem Witch Trials would have gotten rid of Halloween. I am sick and tired of having to prove myself innocent going into a football stadium, a theme park or an arena because of an ideology has beaten our country. Our nation was formed on a principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. We have allowed the witch hunts to happen daily and with our new President, I am afraid it is about to get worse. Do you really just want to be safe or do you want to be free? This is on both liberals and conservatives.
Finally, To Kill a Mockingbird the novel by Harper Lee can open the eyes of racial injustice. I am no Black Lives Matter fan, but the novel allows us to see racism from multiple perspectives. It shows that a loud minority can intimidate the silent majority. This novel is so packed with lessons on a multiple of subjects it could be a stand-alone essay.
In conclusion, I have been told a thousand times in the past seven days “I told you so” by friends and family about Donald Trump. I would like to see a credible journalist write without emotion and expose our entire system and the people who control our system. Until that happens the reality of what is going on now and the alternate reality of what president Hillary would have done are as useless as the fake news from CNN and the Washington Post. Trump is doing what every President has done. He is writing ridiculous Executive Orders and pushing the limits of our Constitution. We have a broken system controlled by two political parties that are currently inspired by extreme ideology. Former Governor Jesse Ventura feels both parties are the exact same. In many cases that is true, like they both “suck.” I feel that the parties have been hijacked by extremists that refuse to compromise. If this past election and the results of that election cannot get us to change the system, we are doomed as a nation. We did not “blow it” in November, we blew it years ago by not learning the lessons of history from novels and non-fiction books that exposed the ills of people. Big Brother is watching so hurry up!