I don’t often post about politics. Mainly, it’s because I don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand and engage. I therefore understand those who vote with their gut, because I do, too. But I do get impressions from the world around me and right now, it looks like it is reenacting “Animal Farm”. I know that George Orwell wrote “Animal Farm” (and later “1984”) as an allegory for the communist revolution in Russia, but the allegory applies to any situation where the leader of a change or revolution ends up betraying it. Everyone plays a role: The leader, the leader’s right-hand man, the idealists, the purists, the skeptics, the counter-revolutionists, the followers.
It’s been a while since I read “Animal Farm”, but I remember one of the horses from the story, one of the last who could remember how it all started, but couldn’t quite grasp the details of it, partly because she couldn’t read. I have looked up a list of characters and the one I’m thinking of is Clover.
Clover, as I recall, was told, as the animal uprising against their human owner began, that four feet are better than two (with exceptions made for chickens). She happily agreed with that premise. Much later, she was told that two feet are better than four, which confused her because that wasn’t how she remembered it. The revolutionary leaders, the pigs, told her she was mistaken, and, trusting them, she believed them.
The US, as of this writing, with Donald J. Trump as president, seems to be adopting changes and laws that remind many of us of the changes that happened in Germany under Adolf Hitler’s rule, which lead us into a world war. Racism, protectionism and nationalism are on the rise. These forces are dividing the world into “us” and “them” and painting “them” as inferior, dangerous and unwanted. Like in Germany in the 1930’s, it starts with skin color, then other ethnic or cultural categories, then financial class, then educational or political class… I think that’s the order.
You see, I’m Clover. I remember being taught this history and how it started, what the forces were that led up to it and then allowed it, but I can’t remember the details. I want to. I feel there is something I should know to keep us from derailing, but I also feel that the only way to find out is to read a world history book from start to finish, all over again.
There is another part of history that seems to be repeating itself: The Cultural Revolution of China. China is starting to crack down on religious citizens, on Christians, and it is also starting to “sort” people according to their accomplishments and income. It’s the 1960’s all over again.
The world is about to burn, and I know somewhere deep inside my brain how the match got struck. I want to remember so maybe I can warn people.
But like Clover, I find that the details escape me, the information that was once fresh has gone stale and even missing. And it worries me. My gut tells me we are nearing a cliff and we need to turn around. We need to remember we are all “us”.