Orwell's Totalitarianism in Today's White House

Subject: Orwell's Totalitarianism in Today's White House
From: Emily Hermes
Date: 6 Mar 2019

“What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,”

This quote, coming from the President of the United States- Donald Trump- immediately drew people to think of George Orwell’s novel, 1984. This was discussed in an article from July 2018 by TIME magazine, stating that many recalled the quote by Orwell: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” When you look at the current state of our world, both political and otherwise, and word “normal” is probably the last to come to mind. Our current White House is straying further and further away from the democratic values of our country, and walking toward the totalitarian ideologies you can see in the novel 1984, which can be used as a mirror to our reality more now than ever.

“There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” – George Orwell, 1984

A staple of the Trump administration has been straying from the truth. One of the most infamous cases of this was Trump aid Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” statement way back during Trump’s inauguration in 2017. As stated in a CNN article from that time, “White House press secretary Sean Spicer's false claims about the size of the crowd at President Donald Trump's inauguration were "alternative facts," a top Trump aide (Conway) said Sunday.” The White House had reported the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” However, during an interview on NBC with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, Conway responded to being called out by replying, "You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary -- gave alternative facts," Much like The Party in 1984, the Trump administration, and the president himself, obviously do not value facts. In Trump’s own personal lawyer’s recent testimony to Congress, he stated that Trump directed him to lie under oath and on other multiple occasions. Just like Big Brother, Trump perpetuates The Party’s phrase: “Ignorance is strength” by urging his supporters to ignore major news outlets and telling them what they’re seeing is not what is factual.

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power” – George Orwell, 1984

Another staple of the Trump ideology is criminalizing free speech and the free press. The American people know this if not anything else about Donald Trump, one of his most famous lines being “fake news!” Trump has repeatedly slammed the media, barring Fox News of course. He can be quoted as saying the free press is “dangerous and sick” and could “cause war.” The president had also referred to the media as “the enemy of the people.” We live in unprecedented time where the White House so adamantly villainizes free speech; this is daily live for Winston living under Big Brother, and it’s become daily life in modern American too. The reason why Trump doesn’t want his supporters viewing free and truthful press? He needs to retain his power. In Winston’s life, The Party and Big Brother control every output of news in order to retain their harsh grip on power.

There’re many voices who claim that Trump is not dangerous to both the reputation of the United States and our current as well as future democracy. However, for the reasons above one can observe that Trump is becoming more and more like Big Brother every day.
In our current political world, it is undeniable that our current president is like no other we’ve had before in American history, and not for the better. While being under investigation for ties to a foreign enemy and shutting down the government for receiving blind devotion to his outrageous plans, the current White House leans more and more toward totalitarian tendencies and the government we see in 1984 by George Orwell. This is an issue that we can no longer ignore, and must retaliate for freedom.

Gajanan, Mahita. “People Are Comparing This Trump Quote to George Orwell.” Time.com , 24 July 2018, time.com/5347737/trump-quote-george-orwell-vfw-speech/.

Smith, Graham. “Trump Launches Another Attack on the Media, Says Press Are ‘Dangerous and Sick’ and Can ‘Cause War.’” Cnbc.com, 5 Aug. 2018, www.cnbc.com/2018/08/05/trump-steps-up-his-media-feud-saying-press-are-d....

Breuninger, Kevin. “Trump Slams the Media as ‘the True Enemy of the People’ Days after CNN Was Targeted with Mail Bombs.” Cnbc, 29 Oct. 2018, www.cnbc.com/2018/10/29/trump-slams-media-as-true-enemy-of-the-people-da....

Orwell, George. 1984. Signet Classic , 1949.