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Dismantling Democracy, One Word at a Time


#1

Dismantling Democracy, One Word at a Time

Karen Greenberg

Consider us officially in an Orwellian world, though we only half realize it. While we were barely looking, significant parts of an American language long familiar to us quite literally, and in a remarkably coherent way, went down the equivalent of George Orwell’s infamous Memory Hole.


#2

Orwell would recognize his writings well and truly put to life in modern day America. Anarchy or Slavery seem our only choice. But the sheep…oh the sheep…the vast majority of clueless ignorant, bigoted, narrow minded, sheep, so willingly led to the slaughter. It is the sheep that doom us all.


#3

This piece turns U.S. history on its head by implying that the United States was ever a democracy. While certain parts of the population have had (and have) “the right to vote” – on certain matters at certain times, we do not even elect our own presidents. That basic function of our “democratic” state (like most things [s]electoral) is controlled by the Duopoly Party of Oligarchs. And it all goes down from there.

The U.S. was founded as a patriarchal, white supremacist, property-owning grouping of European colonies. In 1776, it formally started on its path to becoming a patriarchal, white-supremacist nation beholden to property owners who became capitalists. Millions of human beings (called “slaves”) were a large part of capital formation (wealth). Most of the rest of the (privatized) national wealth came from the enslavement, ethnic removal and genocide of millions of other human beings called “savages” or “Indians.” Exploited labor created the rest.

While the founding realities of white supremacy, patriarchy and property-ownership have changed in form, they continue to be the DNA, social fabric and cultural currency of the United States. So to speak of democracy as having ever been a principle or reality in this nation is to speak falsely and only clouds our current realities.


#4

I hate to read this kind of thing every time it is stated; but it has been proven true over-and-over-and-over-again. There is enough proof to call your statement a truth.


#5

The closest the US ever came to demonstrating characteristics of “democracy” was during the 1935-1985 time frame when FDR’s New Deal regulations limited extremes more than they had been. “Language” (in the context of this article) was well developed by the time Saint Ron was running for his second term in… 1984 !

The 1985 formation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) signaled that the Democratic Party was all in with the “language” thereby making the “language” mainstream, and mostly immune from challenge.

Team Trump is not a departure from what we have experienced for nearly four decades. Trump simply provides a 24/7 smokescreen that Clintonbots, Obamabots and most media characterize as “incompetence and seeming disarray of his presidency” which is actually a very effective strategy for Congress to ACCELERATE the demise of whatever remnants of democracy remained on 1/20/17.

Goebbels would be proud to see how well Murka has refined the work that he pioneered, thereby enabling fascism to take over from within rather than from outside Murka.


#6

I hear a train a comin’
comin’ round the bend
it’s a run-a-way train
carrying a load of coup
careful now so it don’t
run over you


#7

or have we been mislead the whole time by the illusion of freedom. my thought as i scrambled down the laundry soap aisle looking for fabric softener that would match the soap i finally chose, there was none so i had to search all over again. the illusion of freedom, we have been served up many choices of leadership, only to have it blown apart by Trump and his lies. it seemed to have been chosen by millions. so, just exactly where are we?


#8

Where do you draw the line?
The presenters had two choices:
(1) Bow to the Trump administration, remove the offending “Refugee” language, and turn off the tape recorders.
Or
(2) Continue as planned and if ICE did not show up, explain that they were invited and refused to participate for their stated reasons.
Either way, the students (and potential after-the-fact listeners) lose something.
What is the best choice?
I think I would have gone with the second door.


#9

Great point. Who hasn’t been to one of these presentations ( or a neighborhood/community meeting ) where some individual, group or organization bowed out because they didn’t like the framing? At City Council meetings all over this country individuals or groups, try to change the publicly announced parameters of a particular topic up for discussion ( agenda ) and it’s called bringing chaos and being disruptive, right? That’s a favored political tactic with historical roots, too.
Greenberg just points out that demanding certain concepts being preemptively omitted, or turned into upside down inside out word salad by our Government Agencies, is a very slippery slope to official and dangerous fancy doubletalk. And, misdirected or malicious actions posing as just a difference of opinion or interpretation, is what Orwell saw coming down on our heads like an Army boot. To which I say, " well ain’t that the truth ".


#10

“Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.” - Noam Chomsky


#11

Absolutely. Debating an empty chair is a well-established tactic.


#12

Yes, it is all the Democrats fault. The Republicans and their appeal to the basest instincts of the USAn people are totally innocent. Are you forgetting that throughout the 1970s into the 200s, the further left a Democrat ran the worse they lost? And that they only finally started winning again when they move hard-right with the Bill Clinton candidacy?

I’m all for Democrats moving much further left, but we should be under no illusion that, on the short to medium term, they will win by doing so.


#13

There is no such thing as a refugee, only an “animal” that crosses the border, which as Nikki said at the UN while defending Israeli atrocities, are to be shot on sight.


#14

U S

Mindless Juggernaut rolling on,
Crushing, devouring, all in its path
A runaway freight with no engineer;
Or is it?

The people are tired of trying to stop it,
Or control it, or understand it.
Worn down by their efforts,
Their disillusionment, their pain.

No one cares who the engineer is,
Or if there is one.
No one cares who it crushes
As long as it’s someone else.

A runaway freight,
Plunging into an unlighted,
Unfinished tunnel;
Full of people along for the ride.

Steve Osborn
22 Nov. 1974

It has taken longer than I thought, but we are,
I fear, very close to the unfinished end of that tunnel.
Then, it was Noxin, now it is twitler,
but the throttle is still wide open.
;-})


#15

Here is a link to the appendix in 1984,
The Principles of Newspeak.
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/appendix.html
In my opinion, this and our own Ministry of Truth with its memory Holes are all DoublePlusUnGood.
*Apparently, in the US Fourth Reich under twitler, just as in the Third Reich under Hitler, “Der fuehrer is always right, Heil Hitler!”
*If you have a few minutes, read The Principles of Newspeak and do a little contrast and compare.
*You might also find Eric Fromm’s Afterword of 1984 worth reading.


*Don’t be guilty of Crimespeak or Crimethink, remember Big Brother is watching you.
;-})


#16

NO. Just, NO. No, no, no, and NO.

The organizers of this conference blew it. This is an annual round table for academics and other experts to discuss issues related to national security, largely to help future leaders in that area to learn a little about where they are headed before they dive in head first. I see absolutely NO justification for the organizers to kowtow to the petulant demands of anyone demanding special treatment, ESPECIALLY anyone who is a high ranking government official. More particularly, such obeisance to an administration widely understood to be compromised (to put it very delicately), whose members challenged the legitimacy of the preceding administration apparently on the grounds that a person of color should not hold high public office, and which has made clear its intentions to destroy every aspect of what government has been widely accepted to mean over the past 70 years and replace it with endless war not even for endless peace but for financial gain for and elite inner circle, is to bow to those aims and support them.

I suggest that the organizers pull out their copies of Yale historian Timothy Snyder’s fine little book from 2017 titled On Tyranny and reread it, paying particular attention to Lessons 3. 5. 6, 9, 10, 16, and 18.


#17

THANK you. The cynics who increasingly populate these forums would do well to learn more history, in particular the history of this, the first representative government in some 2,000 years, beyond their fascination with the unspeakable things this republic has done and continues to do, and which have only been mentioned publicly within the lifetimes of most of them.

Yes, it is true that “Columbia” never was “the city on the hill,” “the light unto the nations,” that it has never been truly great in the humane sense of that term. Their nihilism helps to assure that it never will. The true mark of a pessimist is his insistence that his narrow view and limited understanding is the whole of reality. This is the “reality” of Kissinger, Brzezinski, Bundy, Bolton, et al.


#18

Nobody is arguing with that.


#19

The Democratic Leadership Council did move the Democratic Party to toward the center but it all broke a 12-year span of a Republican in the White House. It is hard for a party to win three consecutive terms in the White House and when George H.W. Bush followed Reagan that should have been wake up call to the Democrats that they needed to switch gears. Since Bill Clinton’s win in 1992 the Democrats have won the popular vote for president every time except for one election when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in a close contest that came down to Ohio. No question among the two major parties the Democratic Party is the most popular. And Bill Clinton and Barack Obama still are quite popular among Democrats. The big problem with for Democrats is that with polarization the presidential election comes down about a dozen swing states. Although Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, by winning close elections in Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania he was able to win the election. Given that vote is typically close in swing states a few factors going the way of one candidate can make the difference.


#20

I, too, would go with the second choice, but don’t agree with your assessment. Going with the first choice you lose the discussion of the relevant topic and lose the ability to out ICE for its position.

Going with the second choice means you gain exposure of ICE’s shenanigans to the audience and they thereby learn from that information. To me, it’s a clear choice.