This was originally published on Liberal America on January 21, 2017.
In 1949, George Orwell published one of the best pieces of dystopian fiction of the century. When I saw Trump getting sworn in, it made me think of this book. His attacks on the freedom of the press and freedom of speech could potentially lead to something like the society portrayed in this novel.
This book gave us many terms that we still use today such as “Big Brother,” “thought police,” and more. The book follows the character Winston Smith who lives in a future society ruled by a dictator. His job in the government is to destroy any stories or writings that he is told to.
The government controls what information the citizens get a hold of. The dictator ruling the society is known as “Big Brother.”
One big idea talked about the most in this book is the censorship and the “thought police.” There is a concept called “double think” that the Party uses to control its people. They wipe out the past while feeding them lies about what they think should’ve happened.
There is a poignant quote about this concept:
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
Does this sound familiar? We just elected a man who could change the history of our country. He is already trying to censor the press. Is he going to start rewriting history next? He used the term “fake news” to try and discredit major news outlets such as CNN. He gets hostile toward any parodies or satires of him.
When faced with the fact that the number of people attending his inaugural ceremony were very low compared to those of out-going President Obama, Trump immediately began calling the media (and the time-stamped photo and video evidence) false and misleading.
When the Park Service retweeted an image showing side-by-side comparison shots, Trump ordered the Park Service to delete the retweet and discontinue future tweets. This censorship is being ordered on the assumption that the Park Service account must have been “hacked.” But this sets a very dangerous precedent on his second day in office.
President Donald Trump is a threat to our First Amendment rights, we can’t let him turn us into the society of 1984. Read the book. Watch the movie. Let’s fight to keep our rights during this Donald Trump administration. We can’t let him take our freedoms from us.