Felicia Muftic: Newspeak replaces Oldspeak
Grand County, CO Colorado
George Orwell’s foreboding novel “1984” introduced a new language, Newspeak, and he predicted that by 2050 it would replace Oldspeak, the English we have known.
2050 has arrived.
The purpose of Newspeak, according to Orwell, was for totalitarian leaders to make subversive thought and speech impossible by reducing and simplifying grammar and vocabulary and removing all shades of meaning. The difference is today’s Newspeak is a creature of modern communication.
A debate with many candidates requires each to condense explanations into 30-second sound bites. Thirty-second TV commercials depend upon catchy, simplistic phrases. However, these sound bites could generate some interesting shades of meaning if we add in a tad more Oldspeak. Fat chance. Newspeak’s advantage to politicians: It is a mask for reality challenges and Alice in Wonderland style illogic.
What if the GOP’s Newspeak were translated into Oldspeak? We hear the GOP claiming that President Obama is a” failed leader.” What the GOP could be saying in Oldspeak: “Obama got much of his agenda passed in spite of our efforts to stop him, but he failed to cave in to his supporters. That Obama passed through Congress a stimulus bill, Obamacare, auto industry bailout, increase of the debt ceiling, temporary passage of the payroll tax cut extension, and Wall Street Reform does not count; it wasn’t our agenda.”
“Any one could have gotten Bin Laden by approving a risky operation. George W Bush assured us that getting him was not a big deal. Any action short of boots on the ground, bombing, and occupation is leading from behind or appeasement. Hang the cost; we can cut everyone else’s budget and benefits.”
GOP Newspeak: “While the Great Recession was not caused by Obama, he failed to turn around the economy.” Oldspeak translation: Anything short of a return to the pre-2008 economic bubble is not recovery. That GDP and employment have shown steady growth beginning in 2010 is not because of Obama’s policies.
GOP Newspeak: “Obama wants to kill job creators. We know how to create jobs and only we understand how business and the economy works.” Oldspeak translation: We know how to kill jobs by opposing auto bailouts and infrastructure funding, and closing plants. Bush economic policies lost us over 8 million jobs, but let’s not Bush bash. We have had low taxes for the rich, our job creators, for a decade. More of the same should work just as well in the future, too. Lowering taxes further for the 1 percent is fair enough. The Obama stimulus we opposed created nearly 3 million jobs, as promised. It failed because it did not create more than that. Shrinking government, stopping Obama, and protecting high end tax breaks are more important.
GOP Newspeak: “Uncertainty is killing business.” Oldspeak translation: Take back the White House and Congress. That will certainly make it possible to reinstate economic policies of the past. We certainly know where that got us. So let us restore past policies, stop reform, and take our country backward. Blame Obamacare. While not fully operational until 2014, it is OK to keep business uncertain if the GOP can kill it.
GOP Newspeak: “Government cannot create jobs.” Oldspeak: Only the private sector creates jobs. Teachers, firefighters, and police are public employees so they cannot count as jobs created by Government. Government cannot create road and bridge infrastructure jobs because our budget priorities are more important .
GOP Newspeak: “We have plans to save Social Security, Medicare, health care.” Oldspeak: Government guarantees that your pension will still be available when you retire are unnecessary. Wall Street investments always beat Social Security, recent experience with IRAs notwithstanding. If future seniors pay $6,000 more per year, we can save Medicare. Our health insurance cure-all: Cross state insurance purchase and restricting malpractice suits so we can make insurance affordable for 3 million of the uninsured 30 million.
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