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1984 brought up-to-date...

I really want to attempt to avoid politics and religion here when possible. That stuff belongs in my novels where the plot requires it. But lately...

What's going on in Washington is bizarre. I often wonder what George Orwell would make of it. On both sides of the political divide, liberal and conservative, there is little legislation occurring. Now the point of politicians is to create spectacles on Twitter, at the southern border, in committee hearings, but above all, make damned sure that whatever you do, it gets significant airtime. And once that 15 minutes of fame passes, get some more. After all, you need to convince your constituents that you're somebody important and therefore need to stay in your position, if not even get a "promotion." Never mind that you're not doing anything to improve their households and lives. Airtime, baby, that's the ticket!

In Orwell's novel, 1984, the government (known by the populace as Big Brother) spun words and phrases until they lost their original meanings. The people were tightly controlled by fear of thought crime. Some of that is occurring now. You can be accused of being a racist simply because you disagree with someone's opinion. And if that label (or others like it such as sexist or something-phobe) is hurled often enough, there will be those who believe it, regardless of validity. This sounds like people who lost all property, reputation, and dignity in China during the Cultural Revolution.

But as I said earlier, now we have more than words to use as weapons. George Orwell would have been amazed at the new power wielded not only by the government, but by anyone with a computer. If you can gather enough "followers," you can ruin lives at the stroke of a key using social media. Twitter is strong, but Youtube is potent! Simply upload a video about outer-space aliens among us, for example, and it will be believed by some as gospel, only because since "I saw the video, it must be true." This is absolute reality, by the way. One of my students argued with me about proof of aliens infiltrating important sectors of our society. I asked, "What proof?" and was directed to do a Google search for a video. The point is that intelligent adults are doing the same to garner fame and to influence followers. Pictures were posted recently of a young politician standing at a fence displaying foolish-looking melodramatic emotion at something on the other side of the barrier, supposedly horrible conditions of detained travelers. These pictures were posted online, and the obviously faked emotion worked its magic on some followers according to comments. There was never photographic proof of what on the other side could be so appalling. Someone who was there leaked, by the way, that there was nothing on the other side at all except for sand, sagebrush, and cacti.

If this continues to grow, it will result in a future worthy of a novel...One that I will soon feel compelled to write.

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