Wednesday, January 21, 2009

End of an Error

George Orwell
1903 - 1950
2000 - 2008

It's not often we get to lay a famous figure to rest twice. Today it's our pleasure to let poor old Eric Arthur Blair, known to the world as George Orwell, lay back down in his grave for what we hope will be a more eternal rest that the first fifty years' afforded him.

When George W. Bush was installed in the presidency by the Supreme Court in 2000, I responded with two acts: First, I joined the NAACP, figuring that minorities, African Americans in particular, were in for a tough time and could use all expressions of support that well-wishing white Americans could afford. And boy, I was right: as I watched the pasty, angry, pale moon-faced crowd screaming for Sarah Palin and her sore-headed "real" American followers at the 2008 Republican Convention, there were no blacks to be found anywhere. Where had they gone?

The other act I engaged in in response to Bush's imperial coronation was to dust off my copy of 1984 and read it thoroughly.

It read like a blueprint for the Bush/Cheney war on language.

War Is Peace.
Freedom Is Slavery.
Ignorance Is Strength.

Big Brother Is Watching You.

These are the big-print deviant ideas we received from Orwell in his warning against a totalitarian future masquerading as democracy. There were many, many more, from the use of a daily "two minutes' hate" rally to keep the anger and fear at fever pitch, to the Memory Hole, where inconvenient facts are spun away and destroyed.

So today Orwell lies once again in the cold bosom of the Earth. When President Obama's pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder, was questioned by Congress and asked his opinion on water-boarding, he responded clearly, and in a very un-Bush, un-Orwell way:

Yes, water-boarding is torture. No, the president cannot make it legal with a stroke of a pen. No one is above the law, international treaties are in fact the law of the land, and human rights do matter, no matter what.

The way ahead will be bumpy, and painful, and not a Utopian ride by any means, but at least we can say this:

The "war on terror" may continue, but in the War on Truth, and the War on Plain Language, the forces of clarity and transparency appear to have held the field. Americans once again.

And that, my friends, is what, in the Hell of war, is known as VICTORY.

Those Americans marginalized by the Bush/Cheney cabal, left out of the boardrooms where real power lay, are pouring back into public view - jubilant, loud, forceful, and unapologetic. Recognized as the "real" Americans they are, and always were.

Good day, America, and remember, no matter what happens, the Gun-Toting Liberal loves you.

And bye bye Bush. Maybe we'll meet again some time, hopefully at the Hague.

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