Alan Zuckerman | Ironic Use of ‘1984’

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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A response to the Signal’s editorial, “America, Welcome to 1984,” Jan. 16: In the Mueller report, conclusive evidence was presented indicating Russia interfered in our 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump. The Signal was not concerned. Now Facebook and Twitter have banned Trump. The Signal article on Jan. 16 has advanced their support and is up in arms over the First Amendment right to free speech. Just as the First Amendment does not allow for people to shout fire in a crowded movie theater, no American, especially the person holding the highest office in the land, should use the megaphone of social media to spread lies, wild conspiracy theories and misinformation. No social media platform should be allowed to spread misinformation unfettered. 

It is ironic that they use George Orwell’s book “1984” as a warning to us that, if we continue on the path we are on, America will become a communist state. What our real fear should be is that America could have become a fascist state. Fact checkers have put Trump’s lies and misleading statements since he took office at more than 20,000. We had a glimpse early on, when Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway said Sean Spicer lied about the size of the crowd at inauguration. The lies were called “alternate facts.” How eerily similar to Orwell’s, “Big Brother,” saying that two plus two equals five. 

It is a dastardly comparison for The Signal to equate the violence of last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests with the insurrection against our Capitol on Jan. 6. The BLM protests were in response to the murder by a white police officer of George Floyd. Much of the violence was perpetrated by hoodlums and right-wing thugs who wanted to discredit the BLM movement. At no time were the lives of our elected representatives threatened. No one called for hanging Mike Pence. All Americans need to come to terms with the systemic racism and white superiority that our country was founded on.  

One key lie Trump told directly led to the horror we saw on the siege of the Capitol: “The only way we can lose this election is if the election is rigged.” This lie was planted in the minds of his ardent followers, and that is why they tried to prevent the Electoral College from ratifying Joe Biden as president. The fact is the election was the fairest in our history. That proclamation came out of the mouth of Chris Krebbs, a Republican, appointed by Trump to make sure the election was fair. When Trump lost in Georgia, he told his followers he won in a “landslide.”  

On Jan. 6, Trump helped rile up the crowd, who for four years have heard him say the press was the enemy of the people, and the election was stolen by the “deep state.” The parallels with “1984” are frightening. For four years Trump could have condemned QAnon for the baseless nonsense they spout, but he didn’t. Many in the crowd were waving QAnon flags. It would be one thing if only the fringe elements believed this stuff, but that is not the case. At least two members of Congress are QAnon believers, Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert. 

(As of Jan. 20), the worst president in history will be gone. The only president to be impeached twice, and with the lowest approval rating. 

Fortunately, Trumpism is struggling. He and his enablers helped to “poison the well” of our democracy, but the democracy has withstood the challenge. Unfortunately, large swaths of Americans still believe future elections will be rigged, without any proof. Under Trump, science, facts and truths have come under attack (sounds an awful lot like “Big Brother”). Remember him saying in the early stages of the pandemic that “it is just a Deep State hoax”? If he accepted the science and encouraged Americans to wear masks, like Dr. Anthony Fauci asked, how many more Americans would be alive today? The tide thankfully is turning. We hopefully will begin a new chapter with the new administration. We must, however, get to the root causes for why so many Americans can fall under the influence of a demagogue. Certainly economic insecurity and the changing demographics of our country play a role.

Alan Zuckerman


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