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Trumpspeak: Orwell might have written this stuff



I’ll be damned.

That was my reaction when I saw Trump’s comment about Russia interfering in our election.

Every time he sees me he says I didn’t do that and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” Trump said of his bro, Putin.

Now, note how he phrased that. He didn’t say, “I really believe that he didn’t do it.” He said, “I really believe that he means it.” Trump is too clever by half. With that way of putting it, when some reporter at a future presser asks Sarah Huckabee Sanders how the president can possibly claim Putin didn’t meddle with the election when every U.S. intelligence agency insists he did, she can reply, with a straight face, “The president didn’t say he disagrees with the intelligence community. He said he believes President Putin believes his [Putin’s] own words.”

“But Sarah,” someone will follow up, “Does the president believe that Putin didn’t interfere with our election?”

“I haven’t asked him that directly,” Sanders will reply. “I’ll get back to you on that if I do.”

Now, if that isn’t a red herring, there’s never been one. This is how this regime talks: gobbledygook. In George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, an authoritarian regime made its citizens think in Newspeak—which was designed to make all other modes of thought impossible.” By the manipulation of language, Newspeak “was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods.”

In the same way, Trumpspeak is designed to make modes of thought unflattering to Trump impossible, at least by the mentally dull who form his base. Almost every utterance of Trump is constructed so as to reinforce the pre-existing notions of his base—his Party members—while excluding truths that logical analysis would provide. The nonsense about Putin is the latest example, but another—and far easier to deconstruct—was his lie about the size of his inauguration crowd.

If you recall, he had Sanders’ unfortunate predecessor, Sean Spicer, face the press corps and insist, “That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period.” When photos proved that Trump’s crowd was dwarfed by Obama’s, the lie was immediately exposed. A defensive Trump himself insisted, variously, that the photos were doctored, or that the media had photographed an empty field—this is what led the equally unfortunate Kellyanne Conway to talk about “alternative facts.” She was roundly criticized for that stupid comment, but in fact, Kellyanne was correct in a sense—an Orwellian sense. While George Orwell didn’t use the phrase “alternative facts,” he would have loved it (Newspeak might have called it “altfacts”), because it’s an elegant way of expressing the essence of Newspeak. Just because 100% of the evidence of our senses tells us that something must be true, it actually might not be, if the Party can persuade its members to exclude physical evidence.

This leads us right back to Trump’s comment about Putin believing his own words, but it also leads to almost every other fabulous concoction of this current regime. The Roy Moore scandal is another manifestation: the Party wishes for Alabama voters not to believe them, despite mounting evidence that Moore did as alleged, and so, despite this evidence, Party adherents can “exclude all other meaning” from that evidence and consider only Moore’s denial. Indeed, we might hear Sarah Huckabee Sanders this week say, “The president believes that, when Judge Moore denies the accusations, the Judge really means it.” And that, in turn, will be enough for Breitbart to claim that President Trump doesn’t believe the charges, and that Moore has been vindicated, and that the whole thing is a smear job by “Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post.”

And then, with an Orwellian snap of the fingers, one-third of this nation, under the spell of Trumpspeak, “knows” that Moore has been vindicated, just as they “know” that he had the Biggest.Inaugural.Crowd.Ever, and that those 16 women who accused him of groping their pussies are liars.

There’s no way to rationally, intellectually or morally fight against Trumpspeak, at least, not before it is thoroughly discredited before the bar of History and the American public. We’re a ways off from that day, sadly. Trumpspeak will not be discredited until Donald J. Trump is discredited, but about 30% of Republicans will never discredit him, because the propaganda of the Right and of evangelical Christianity has robbed them of the ability to think. But the awful truth is that, if Donald J. Trump is not discredited, then the U.S.A. will be discredited, and worse: it might even unravel. That is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants—the utter discredit of America—and there’s no sane explanation for Trump’s pro-Putin words and behavior except that he, too, desires the discredit of America. Why, we may never know. But we can conclude, with certainty, that he does.

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