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Ignorance is Strength

As millions basked in the cool soft glow of video screens in the early morning of November ninth, the inconceivable became hideous reality.Our carefully constructed mental picture of inevitable progressive triumph over a perfidious maladroit demagogue was shattered, scattered as mournful dust to the four winds. First, there was denial that we must affix the appellation "President" before the name Trump.Quickly this was replaced, in many people, by anger and in some by "if only we had …," recrimination.We must, however, never allow ourselves to arrive at the last stage of grief, acceptance.Acceptance is the little cancer that grows, allowing first normalization of actions that, only months ago, we found egregious and finally metastasizing into our own complicit actions.Days after the election I was quoted as saying that we "should give him a chance" hoping, in my own form of denial, that it would not be that bad.I was wrong; it has proven to be worse.

During the past election, we were treated to candidates and spokespersons to whom facts and truth were malleable and irrelevant.The weaknesses in present journalism were on full display as one news commentator (performer) after another failed to follow up on denials of documented facts and allow carefully rehearsed propagandist talking points to stand unchallenged."Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."[1]Fake news, typified by Pizzagate,[2] zipped around the country, getting time on "reputable" sites such as (article now rebuked and banned) and[3]This "news" eventually received airtime on major networks, while being generally identified as conspiracy theory, imprinted itself on gullible, low information voters.In their minds, lies became truth as demonstrated by Edgar Welch actions at the pizzeria and voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.Orwell spoke of this ignorance when he wrote of a dystopian future that believed in the tripartite slogan "War is Peace – Freedom is Slavery – Ignorance is Strength".[4] While we do not yet live in his totalitarian vision, these concepts exist.We live with perpetual war and call it peace and enslavement to corporate greed and call it freedom.

As individuals and within our organizations we must oppose the tendency for the media and news organizations is to normalize[5] the behavior of the new administration and congress.We have a man that has a "characteristic fondness for superlatives" and seems to be "so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth."[6]We should have learned this painful and costly lesson from history; that man was Hitler, the press at that time also tried to normalize this tyrant.I am not saying that Trump is, or will be, a modern Hitler there are many differences.What I am urging is that we sharpen our pencils, fill our pens and put your Legislators on speed dial.Be ready to react to lies and attempts to abrogate our rights, write and call quickly and often.As the president of NOW New Jersey, Deb Huber, said at our conference, "Resist, Resist, Resist."In the words of one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

I wish you all a Happy New Year; we will get through this in unity and sisterhood.

[1] George Orwell, 1984, 1948 , Part 1, Chapter 7
[4] George Orwell, 1984, 1948, Part 1, Chapter 1
[6] Volker Ulrich, Hitler-Ascent 1889-1939, Knopf 2016

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