They are the Pigs in Animal Farm, preaching righteousness, peddling preposterousness and hoarding all the “milk and apples” for themselves.
If the demogagic President Donald Trump and his greedy loyalist Republican abettors had their way, the American citizenry would be consigned to a life of Farm-like drudgery.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” becomes the leader pigs’ contorted “Commandment” to the rest of the farm animals by the end of Animal Farm.
As Trump, in a grand Christmas tree ceremony outside the White House yesterday, bestowed more reverence to a harvested tree than he has recently to our fallen war heroes, American lives lost in California’s wildfires or our democratic rule of law, it’s more evident than ever that Trump and his loyalist enablers consider themselves “more equal” than the rest of us.
No brazen lie is too ludicrous. No insensitive criticism is too ugly. No bigoted, alarmist incite is too inflammatory. No obstructive meddling with our justice system is out of bounds.
In the face of Trump’s grotesque persistent disregard for truth, justice and human decency, Republican head hogs led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan offer nary a snort nor a squeal of objection.
But, our Conservative leaders’ hero masks are slipping – and their snouts are starting to show.
George Orwell’s 1945 Animal Farm primarily was a dystopian fable on early 20th Century Soviet Communism’s bloody ruthlessness, but Orwell himself, indicated that his simplistic foreboding fairtale held “a wider application” about “power-hungry people.”
“What I was trying to say was,” Orwell continues, “‘You can’t have a revolution unless you make it for yourself; there is no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship.’”
Disillusioned Americans, who weren’t so much “alert” as they were desperate, clearly were swindled by Trump’s disingenous populous revolution of sorts.
Now, in the flotsam wake of the midterm election’s Democratic blue wave — demonstrating a new found citizen alertness that will flood the House in January — the mistake of ever allowing a Trump Presidency, is coming into sharp, unsettling focus.
Oppression is oppression. Greed and abuse of power produce essentially the same result whatever the misanthropic ideology – Communism or Fascism or some other hybrid demagogic “ism” to which Trump and his loyalists aspire.
If Washington D.C’s plutocratic pigs had their druthers, Americans would be so dumbed down by the con-in-chief’s exhaustive lies and grating vitriol, endorsed by congressional majority party Republicans, that we would have about as much say in our Republic’s affairs as Animal Farm‘s befuddled barnyard animals had on the farm under the pigs.
“Napoleon is Always Right”
Trump is akin to Farm’s ruthless ruling pig, Napoleon, a Berkshire boar who, Orwell writes, has a knack for “getting his own way.”
Napoleon counted on his propagandist pig, Squealer, who “could turn black into white” to brainwash the farm animals with lies about their tyrannical leader’s supposed benevolence.
Even Clover the mare, who notices the changes the pigs sneakily make to Animalism’s Commandments, eventually is lulled into a sense of complacency, convincing herself that she must have “remembered it wrong.”
As the Farm animals work harder for less, the beloved, but dim-witted carthorse Boxer declares, “I will work harder” and routinely motivates himself by extolling the pigs’ most controlling lie of all: “Napoleon is always right.”
To advance his doubtless premeditated assault on truth and civility from the start of 2017, President Trump has employed his own tag team versions of Squealer – in imaginative mouthpieces Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Sanders, White House press secretary, seems eternally lost in an alternate reality where if President Trump “says it, it must be true” – just as Farm’s animals were programmed to parrot of Napoleon, no matter how absurd the lie.
According to Sanders: Mueller’s Trump-Russia probe is a “hoax,” the President wants to protect pre-existing conditions afterall and, despite her boss’ constant maligning of the media as the “enemy of the people,” Trump actually favors a free press.
And we Americans, like Farm‘s flock of mindless sheep taught by Squealer to obediently bleat “Four legs good, two legs better,” are supposed to believe it all.
In the disturbing aftermath of pipe bombs mailed to Trump’s outspoken opponents and horrific hate-fueled mass shootings last month, we were expected to accept that Trump’s relentless fear-mongering of “the other” has had no destructive effect on the American psyche.
Republicans feign ignorance when it comes to explaining the disturbing spike in United States’ hate crimes that coincides with Trump’s exhaustive, malice-spewing 2016 presidential campaign.
The President’s most loyal sycophants – Senator McConnell, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Lyndsey Graham and House leader Kevin McCarthy and their like – even stumble out of their way to defend Trump’s unrepentant childish outbursts and destructive autocratic impulses.
In the meantime, Trump bungles, connives and insults his way across the American landscape, leaving a destructive path of Reality TV rubble for us to clean up.
He tries to bury a probe into his criminal malfeasance by inserting an unqualified apologist as U.S. Attorney General, snubs our WWI fallen, strong arms The Press and increasingly blathers banalities.
Obstruction — A Majority Party Privilege?
With the looming threat of special counsel Robert Mueller’s “Trump-Russia” investigation wrapping and a blue wave crashing, President Trump, more and more over the past six weeks, has been lashing out like a cornered wild animal.
In the month leading up to the Nov. 6, 2018 midterms, Toronto Star Reporter Daniel Dale reports, Trump made as many “false claims” — 815 of them in 30 days — as he did in his first 286 days as President.
The day after Americans, in effect, voted (in the midterms) to preserve our democratic freedoms, Trump took the gloves off; he went rogue at a White House press conference, revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass (reinstated by a federal judge Friday) and savaged the U.S. Justice department.
Any last vestiges of his mask, or by way of their largely complicet silence, Republican leaders’ disguises, fell away that day.
As if obstructing justice were just another majority party privilege, Senate leader McConnell refuses to allow a vote on a bi-partisan bill that would protect the integrity of special counsel Mueller’s investigation.
McConnell baselessly insists there’s no need for alarm over Trump’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to replace him with his controversial inside man Matthew Whitaker, a controversial, vocal critic of Mueller.
Of course, Trump’s klutzy move to preserve his own hide by snubbing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has overseen the Mueller probe from the start, smacks of the authoritarianism abuses Orwell called out incessantly in his lifetime and creatively alerts us to with Animal Farm and his later novel, 1984.
Meanwhile, in America, despite the abject swirl of controversy befitting a crime boss encompassing Trump, the autocratic programming advocated daily by Trump apologist “news” outlets like Fox, even at this late date has so many citizens convinced that if Trump “said it, it must be true.”
As the pigs did in Animal Farm and Vladimir Putin does in Russia, Republicans, led by an authoritarian President, are advocating censorship, increased wealth to the powerful and suppression of the people’s democratic rights.
Pigs Hoarded Milk and Apples; Repubs, Tax Cuts For Rich
Just as Farm‘s pigs reason early on that they need all of the farm’s “milk and apples” to lead the rest of the animals, Trump and his complicit Republican chums insisted at the outset that billionaires’ tax breaks are the key to economic revival for all.
Never mind that Reaganomics trickled down – and out, decades ago. Never mind that corporate profits are soaring, while workers’ wages have stagnated.
And that now, in order to pay for corporate big wigs’ tax cuts, Republicans contrive to carve up the people’s Medicare and Medicaid, while sinisterly eyeing social security benefits.
Who is the real “enemy of the people”?
“The turning-point of the story was supposed to be when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves,” Orwell writes in the 1946 letter to Macdonald, published in George Orwell: A Life In Letters, 2013.
“If the other animals had had the sense to put their foot down then,” Orwell continues, “it would have been all right.”
At the first sign of feebleness, Boxer, the farm’s hardest worker — instrumental in the farm’s success from which the pigs alone capitalized — is hauled off to the slaughterhouse.
Despite the animals’ increasingly desperate circumstances on the farm, Squealer’s barrage of untruths ultimately convince the lowly, overworked animals that “things were getting better.”
Think of Trump’s grandiose claims of new plant openings and soaring jobs numbers. When Fox News’ asked him this past weekend how he would grade his job as President so far, Trump offered, “A plus.”
And look no further than Trump’s scripted, dictator-esque, brainwashing rallies, where gullible Reality TV “fans” pathetically worship a snake oil salesman, cheering on command and smiling idiotic smiles.
Which is Which?
In Farm’s last pages, the pigs have rewritten Animalism’s “Seven Commandments” to suit them, embracing the ways of the animals’ sworn enemy humans.
“Comrade Napoleon” and his fellow privileged porkers have moved into overthrown (Manor Farm) owner Mr. Jones’ farm house, are dressed in his clothes and are walking upright on their two hind legs.
By then, the incoherent sheep under the absolute sway of Napoleon’s propagandist pig Squealer, no longer are sounding off on command: “Four legs good, two legs bad,” but rather, “Four legs good, two legs better.”
Animal Farm leaves us with the animals peering through the farm house dining room window as the pigs inside schmooze and toast mugs of beer with neighboring farmer, Mr. Pilkington and his associates.
The pigs and humans end up squabbling over a card game in which Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington each play an ace of spades.
Who is cheating?
In the novella’s last line, the baffled animals at the window look from face to face, from the humans to the pigs, but: “It was impossible to say which was which.”
Anymore, whether it’s in the company of dictators Trump keeps or among the multi-millionaires and billionaires that our purported Capitol Hill representatives mingle with at home and abroad, it’s becoming increasingly harder to tell “which is which.”
To what degree, weeks from now, the new Democratic House majority protects the Mueller investigation’s imminent findings and gets actionable results, may just hinge on the vigilance of the same Americans who made the midterm blue wave a reality.
There’s no time for typical post-election complacency. The real battle to reclaim our Republic from a manifestly unstable President and his gluttonous cohorts clinging to power, begins now.
And victory is likely to depend not only on our federal courts and newly elected legislators, but on “we the people” sticking to the fight — demanding loud and clear, our fair share of the milk and apples.