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"You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means."

The influence of George Orwell's "1984" has become legendary. Indeed, his very name has become an adjective -- "Orwellian" has become an entire concept in and of itself.

Wikipedia gives a good summary of the meaning of Orwellian. I'm going to focus on two parts of that.

First up:

The encouragement of "doublethink," whereby the population must learn to embrace inconsistent concepts without dissent, e.g. giving up liberty for freedom.

To me, this is a fair representation of Senator Obama's political stances. He goes beyond flip-flopping; he comes down on at least two sides of several issues. He supports the District of Columbia's attempts to ban handguns, but he also supports the Supreme Court's striking down those measures as unconstitutional. He opposes NAFTA, but he favors it as well. He lauds the success of the surge strategy in Iraq, but says he'd still vote against it. If you think that Jerusalem should remain in Israeli hands, he's your guy. If you want it as a capitol for the Palestinians, then he's with you, too. And if you want it divided, he's on your side as well.

Far, far more important than that, though, (as fun as it is), is this part of the definition of Orwellian:

The political manipulation of language, by obfuscation, e.g. WAR IS PEACE. Using language to obfuscate meaning or to reduce and eliminate ideas and their meanings that are deemed dangerous to its authority.

And thus we find that the biggest enemy of democracy in the United States comes from staunch supporters of the Democratic Party.

Being weighed in Congress right now is the disgustingly-misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," an attempt to change the way unions are organized. One provision -- the most noxious -- is the stripping of workers debating whether to unionize their right to hold a secret ballot.

OK, that's a bit too general. What it does is allow for an alternate approach, a substitute for a secret ballot election. Instead, union organizers can simply collect signed pledge cards from a majority of the workers, and the secret ballot is bypassed. Of course, there are provisions to minimize intimidation (and we all know that unions would NEVER do anything as crass as intimidate people), but I can't conceive of any sort of provision that would be as intimidation-proof as a secret ballot.

The secret ballot is the cornerstone of democracy. It utterly guts the power of those who would want to win by force. They can threaten and promise and cajole and intimidate all they want, but once the voter goes into that ballot booth, they are utterly free to vote their conscience, without the slightest fear of retaliation. It is crucial. It is essential.

And it is about to be denied to workers who are considering whether or not to join a union.

The other big threat going on right now is from an organization headed up by longtime Democratic activist Tom Matzzie. Matzzie has decided that the biggest threat to our electoral process is Republican soft money and advocacy groups, so he's rounded up a bunch of Democratic soft money and started his own advocacy group that is threatening to investigate and harass and cause legal and personal problems for those who give money to Republican and conservative causes.

(By the way, I offered a reward for anyone who could give me some good dirt on Mr. Matzzie. One kind reader, my fellow New Hampshirite Raven, offered to donate to increase my reward fund tenfold. I'm going to have to refuse her kind offer; taking outside funding for this would simply complicate matters too much. But my thanks, Raven. Feel free to start your own "dirt fund," though.)

Now, this is where the regular detractors here will cite several efforts on the right to achieve their goals through similar thuggish methods. That's a fair cop. But that overlooks that the Republicans don't call themselves "the Democratic Party."

"Democrat" has two meanings. As a proper, capitalized noun, it means, simply, "a member of the Democratic party." But when it's a lower-case "d," though, it means considerably more:

1. an advocate of democracy. 2. a person who believes in the political or social equality of all people.
Someone should remind the leaders of the Democratic Party just where they got their name from, and get them back in touch with their roots. With just these two examples, we see that there is a serious danger to democracy from within the party that uses its name.


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Comments (12)

"The political manipulation... (Below threshold)
tyree:

"The political manipulation of language, by obfuscation, e.g. WAR IS PEACE. Using language to obfuscate meaning or to reduce and eliminate ideas and their meanings that are deemed dangerous to its authority."

The continued fight to change the millennium old definition of marriage shows that many Democrats were rooting for the wrong side when they read "1984" in high school.

How about those slogans of ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

How about those slogans of "valuing diversity" or "encouraging bipartisanship"? Diversity being valued only if you agree with their point of view; otherwise you're "racist", "homophobic", "war-mongering", "exploitive capitalist", etc etc. And as for bipartisan, we only have to look to Her Majesty Nancy Pelosi as a prime example of that Democartic principle. If "re-education" camps are ever established in this country, they'll be run by Democrats.

If "re-education" cam... (Below threshold)

If "re-education" camps are ever established in this country, they'll be run by Democrats.

Isn't that what sensitivity training is all about? We are already there.

But JT, its just INCONCEIV... (Below threshold)
epador:

But JT, its just INCONCEIVABLE that such fine upstanding sages could be plotting sinister plots against our country's ideals, as if they would hire drunken Spaniards and pituitary giants (or their metaphorical equivalents) to avoid having to resort to a battle of wits to attempt defeat of the dread President Bush (even though he's not running again).

JT,Agree with your a... (Below threshold)
Codekeyguy Author Profile Page:

JT,
Agree with your always excellent assessment. Just want to warn you, though. Paul H. is "gonna getcha". You challenge the union right to "doublespeak". You will be cast out!!!

I always find it odd that t... (Below threshold)
JimK:

I always find it odd that the Wizbang trolls stay silent on certain posts. Well not odd, really, but *telling*. Unless you are an idiot, there is ZERO argument to be made against this paragraph:

The secret ballot is the cornerstone of democracy. It utterly guts the power of those who would want to win by force. They can threaten and promise and cajole and intimidate all they want, but once the voter goes into that ballot booth, they are utterly free to vote their conscience, without the slightest fear of retaliation. It is crucial. It is essential.

And it is about to be denied to workers who are considering whether or not to join a union.

Any argument one of the trolls would make would expose them for power-grabbing scum who aren't principled in any way, i.e. people who just want to win by any means necessary. It would prove them as supporters of fear and intimidation, on a one-to-one, personal level, in order to affect the outcome of a vote.

It would expose them as enemies of democracy and liberty and basic fair play. And so they stay curiously silent on posts like this.

Interesting.

Another sad proof of the De... (Below threshold)
grace:

Another sad proof of the Democratic Party's belief system is the Democratic National Committee and the method of electing their party's choice for president. There are voters, but then there are voters who have more say and more sway ("Super" Delegates). Unfortunately, there is a gap in thinking that this might be at all undemocratic just as there is a blind spot in their perception of this "employee free choice act". I hope it is because they just don't get it. I fear, however, they "get it" just fine. I fear that the Democratic party is so angry at losing when playing by the rules, that they really do wish to throw out the rules so they can win. How very sad and dangerous.

grace, I think the GOP has ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

grace, I think the GOP has superduperdelegates too, but I think the Dems have more. I don't like the whole superdelegate thing either.

I also don't like the caucus method of electing candidates, which is how Brocko got nominated in the first place. The caucus method is akin to not having a secret ballot vote. I think it's going to bite the Dems on the ass this November.

How can everyone have misse... (Below threshold)

How can everyone have missed the Democrats proposed reinstatement of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" as a tool with which to stifle Free Speech for Conservatives?

In order to protect Free Speech for everyone, they need to take it away from those that would, in their opinion, misuse it!

That's as Orwellian as it gets, folks!

So, Father, who was a life-... (Below threshold)
ElvenPhoenix:

So, Father, who was a life-long Democrat and Union organizer changed several years ago to Republican.

Having experienced "union" activism myself there is no way I would EVER approve of a card check vs. an actual secret ballot. Having had death threats against family members, security personnel living with us during union contract negotiations, and the union threatening anyone who didn't "toe the line"...well, 'nuff said. Been there, done that. Card check should be universally denounced by those who actually appreciate individual rights.

OK, that's a bit too gen... (Below threshold)
Mike G in Corvallis:

OK, that's a bit too general. What it does is allow for an alternate approach, a substitute for a secret ballot election. Instead, union organizers can simply collect signed pledge cards from a majority of the workers, and the secret ballot is bypassed.

Jay, I believe it's worse that that. Card check is already legal and allowed, and there are already horror stories about how union organizers use it. But under EFCA card check will become unavoidable and unchallengable. According to Wikipedia:

Under current labor law, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board will certify a union as the exclusive representative of employees if it is elected by either a majority signature drive, the card check process, or by secret ballot NLRB election, which is held if more than 30% of employees in a bargaining unit sign statements asking for representation by a union. Under the EFCA, an employer would no longer have the opportunity to demand a secret ballot election when a majority of employees have signed union cards and there is no evidence of illegal coercion.

My sister is a life long un... (Below threshold)
tyree:

My sister is a life long union member. The last time hers went on strike the security cameras caught "friends" of hers vandalizing the cars of the management people they had all worked with for decades. They damaged the building where they all worked together. Card Check is one more power grab by the lower forms of life in the country.




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