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Rebecca Gordon: Those Who Do Not Remember History...
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In the first paragraphs of George Orwell’s famed novel 1984, Winston Smith slips through the doors of his apartment building, “Victory Mansions,” to escape a “vile wind.” Hate week — a concept that should seem eerily familiar in Donald Trump’s America — was soon to arrive. “The hallway,” writes Orwell, “smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats.” Smith then plods up to his seventh-floor flat, since the building’s elevator rarely works even when there’s electricity, which is seldom the case. And, of course, he immediately sees the most famous poster in the history of the novel, the one in which BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. (“It was one of those pictures… so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move.”)

Now, imagine us inside our own “Victory Mansions,” an increasingly ramshackle place called the United States of America in which, like Smith, we simply can’t escape our leader. Call him perhaps “Big Muddler.” He may not be looking directly at YOU, but he is, thanks to a never-ending media frenzy, remarkably omnipresent. Go ahead and try, but you know that whatever you do, however you live your life, these days you just can’t escape him. And if Donald Trump’s America isn’t already starting to feel a little like that ill-named, run-down building in a future, poverty-stricken London, then tell me what it’s like.

Can’t you feel how rickety the last superpower on planet Earth is becoming as our very own Big-Muddler-in-Chief praises himself eternally for his “achievements”? Here’s just a small sample from a recent graduation address President Trump gave at the Coast Guard Academy. (You know, the one where he so classically claimed that “no politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly”):

“I’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in a very short time as president. Jobs pouring back into our country… We’ve saved the Second Amendment, expanded service for our veterans… I’ve loosened up the strangling environmental chains wrapped around our country and our economy, chains so tight that you couldn’t do anything — that jobs were going down… We’ve begun plans and preparations for the border wall, which is going along very, very well. We’re working on major tax cuts for all… And we’re also getting closer and closer, day by day, to great healthcare for our citizens.”

This is, of course, all balderdash — from the “big, fat, beautiful wall” the Mexicans were going to finance, for which he’s requested $1.6 billion in the next budget (compared to the up to $67 billion it might actually cost) and which he’s unlikely to get, to those scam jobs supposedly flooding in thanks to him. His urge is clearly to establish a fantasy America, a true Victory Mansion (undoubtedly with his name in golden letters above it) in the potential ruins of the country we once knew, which would indeed be an Orwellian trick of the first order. In the meantime, as TomDispatch regular Rebecca Gordon points out, President Trump and his coterie of cabinet plutocrats and advisers have been doing Orwell one better and, 33 years after 1984 passed us by, are in the process of creating their own memory hole down which they plan to stuff reality itself.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, TomDispatch Archives 
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  1. gustafus says:

    Who is Gordon’s audience? The independents? They are tired of the verbosity …

    Trumpets? – We aren’t going anywhere. Fellow snowflakes? Who Cares?

    I’m to the point where I wish Trump were half the monster he’s portrayed to be…. I want round ups, firing squads, internment and real gas rather than delousing in their showers.

    Let’s start with Gordon.

    The hysteria has now reached a point of diminishing returns. A-political types are tired of the noise, and don’t know or care about any of this. They just want some peace and quiet.

    This AH HAH! Gotcha crap day after day after day…. feeds the beasts of the left, and bores the rest of us.

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  2. Stogumber says:

    It’s not as if Trump is watching Ms. Gordon. On the opposite, Ms. Gordon is obsessively watching Mr. Trump – and she’s too stupid to see the difference.

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  3. Yer outta your mind, Englehardt. The running down of America started with your beloved Bill Clinton’s NAFTA and your wife’s and Obama’s tear down of healthcare in this country. Your entire party is composed of corrupt, foulmouthed and miserable cretins and your culture has ruined the children, especially the women, who are 80% obese, blue-haired, tatted up, pierced and gross. Your Blacks are violent and ill-tempered and you filled the country with illegal immigrants to make up for your Party’s women’s low birthrates–for votes. Trump’s been in for around 120, but HE’S responsible for the damage brought to us by Democrats? What a stupid typist for the DNC this guy is.

    He should instead focus on Democrats tearing down the statues of historical figures from the South circa-1800-present who were, coincidentally, all Democrats.

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  4. whorefinder says: • Website

    I find it endlessly amusing the projection that the Left does about 1984. Especially poignant this week, when Obama was confirmed to have been illegally spying on Americans.

    The Left is in total denial that they are the bad guys of history. And that Orwell wrote 1984 about their ideal government.

    ORWELL WAS MAKING FUN OF YOU, RETARDS!

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  5. What does the word History in the title have to do with anything in the essay? 1984 is fiction, even though it seems to be really happening. I’m skeptically miles from being a Trumpophile, but it’s surprising to see this kind of crap in Unz. This is 5 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

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  6. g says:

    Brave New World is the more prophetic dystopian reality. Trumps election only slowed the progress which is what pisses off the Rebeccas of the world who had hoped to be dropping Soma like Skittles by now if Hitlery been elected.

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  7. Michelle says:
    @Jim Christian
    Yer outta your mind, Englehardt. The running down of America started with your beloved Bill Clinton's NAFTA and your wife's and Obama's tear down of healthcare in this country. Your entire party is composed of corrupt, foulmouthed and miserable cretins and your culture has ruined the children, especially the women, who are 80% obese, blue-haired, tatted up, pierced and gross. Your Blacks are violent and ill-tempered and you filled the country with illegal immigrants to make up for your Party's women's low birthrates--for votes. Trump's been in for around 120, but HE'S responsible for the damage brought to us by Democrats? What a stupid typist for the DNC this guy is.

    He should instead focus on Democrats tearing down the statues of historical figures from the South circa-1800-present who were, coincidentally, all Democrats.

    Too right, mate!

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