Obama Chooses Orwell
But that's nothing new.
Actually, this election isn't so much different as it is scary. Not scary in the traditional manner, mind you. This one has a creepiness all its own. Throughout the past, for example, politicians scared the populace with what they've said. This election grips me for what is not being said. It should scare you, too. And here's why:
In 1949, George Orwell rattled the post-war world with his seminal Nineteen Eighty-Four, a thinly disguised treatise about the Soviet communist threat to the free world. Back in the days when reading was valued as more than just a brief glance at People magazine while sitting on the toilet, Orwell's book was a staple for young minds, introducing them to the concept of critical thinking -- and the lack thereof. One of Orwell's literary devices deployed throughout his stern, thought-controlled vision of the future was the concept of Doublespeak, in which the authoritarian Big Brother constrained and confused the weaker minds of the working class with epithets like these:
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
By gradually decreasing the mass's vocabulary with Doublespeak, the public's ability to articulate their thoughts and dissent eventually dissipates, until even those with contrarian ideologies have no means to express them. Which brings us back to the election we now face.
I note with particular horror the campaign of Senator Barack Obama, whose president efforts are comprised entirely of Orwellian Doublespeak. Look closely at his placards and you'll find a hauntingly similar theme that Orwell described in his 1949 novel. There are no specifics. No articulations of thought. Just brief, mono-syllabic words that express, well, whatever you'd like them to express. Hope. Change. Yes we can.
Hope for what? Change to what? Yes we can do what?
If you scrounge around long enough, you'll find a bit or two of real information there. You can, for instance, point to Obama's much-heralded vote against the Iraq war. Nice soundbyte, except that anyone can trumpet their hindsight. What I want to know is his answers -- specific answers -- about questions of the future?
You would think that with all this Obama-mania, at least some of his followers (if not himself) would be able to articulate his positions on the issues of the day. Yet in my experiences, voter after voter is unable to describe or defend any of Obama's positions on just about any topic. What they can do is parrot what they've "heard on TV."
And that, perhaps, is the most frightening aspect of all.