Meaning Shift In Politics

by Richard Kovac

The time will come when Martin Luther King's name will be used to justify preemptive war. The powers-that-be carefully omit more and more his emphasis on non-violence. "War is NOT the answer," he said on March 4, 1967. His whole career exemplified and expounded non-violence, but his name will be a rallying cry for the troops.

Things started to resemble Newspeak when the Dept. of War became the Dept. of Defense. That put a better face on it. Then recently we have "collateral damage", which means the killing of innocent women, children, and civilians. "Preemptive war" means, in fact, attacking before you are threatened. It goes on. We are full of euphemisms.

The speech writers of the President do not so much reflect reality as create by an act of poetic imagination, and the poetic imagination usually captivates the minds of the electorate more than the facts. There are signs this is letting up in the Iraq war.

A friend of mine said recently, "Bush is crazy". He reads the Bible every day - and respects the Koran - yet leads us into this interminable war for oil resources in Iraq. The "War on Terrorism" means we are tightening into a taut ball of security and finding ways to spend money and create jobs.

I don't think Bush is crazy. We should honor him, as we should honor everyone, and - from my own point of view - his pro-life stand is applaudable. But if anyone dare to question him in public, some will accuse him/her of "not supporting the troops". What a distortion! The best way to support the troops is to bring them home, where they should have stayed to begin with. They should never have been ordered to Iraq at all.

But it was because of "weapons of mass destruction", which didn't exist. More poetry. Need a poem be equal to "Not true"? In fact, we in this country have the vast majority of the world's weapons of mass destruction. Should we therefore be invaded? And they really exist!

At various times I have seen Orwell's classic "l984" as a paradigm for our future development. My fears were confirmed when all the major telephone companies, including AT&T conspired with the government to track the telephone calls of twenty million citizens domestically. Where are the guarantees of the Bill of Rights? "Privacy is essential for the development of religion," said Philosopher-mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.

The government is well on the way to inventing a comprehensive vocabulary of Newspeak.

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