A Roll in the Universe

Website of Keera Ann Fox, an American in Bergen, Norway

Feeling like Clover

I don’t often post about politics. Mainly, it’s because I don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand and engage. I therefore understand those who vote with their gut, because I do, too. But I do get impressions from the world around me and right now, it looks like it is reenacting “Animal Farm”.

I know that George Orwell wrote “Animal Farm” (and later “1984”) as an allegory for the communist revolution in Russia, but the allegory applies to any situation where the leader of a change or revolution ends up betraying it. Everyone plays a role: The leader, the leader’s right-hand man, the idealists, the purists, the skeptics, the counter-revolutionists, the followers.

It’s been a while since I read “Animal Farm”, but I remember one of the horses from the story, one of the last who could remember how it all started, but couldn’t quite grasp the details of it, partly because she couldn’t read. I have looked up a list of characters and the one I’m thinking of is Clover.

Clover, as I recall, was told, as the animal uprising against their human owner began, that four feet are better than two (with exceptions made for chickens). She happily agreed with that premise. Much later, she was told that two feet are better than four, which confused her because that wasn’t how she remembered it. The revolutionary leaders, the pigs, told her she was mistaken, and, trusting them, she believed them.

The US, as of this writing, with Donald J. Trump as president, seems to be adopting changes and laws that remind many of us of the changes that happened in Germany under Adolf Hitler’s rule, which lead us into a world war. Racism, protectionism and nationalism are on the rise. These forces are dividing the world into “us” and “them” and painting “them” as inferior, dangerous and unwanted. Like in Germany in the 1930’s, it starts with skin color, then other ethnic or cultural categories, then financial class, then educational or political class… I think that’s the order.

You see, I’m Clover. I remember being taught this history and how it started, what the forces were that led up to it and then allowed it, but I can’t remember the details. I want to. I feel there is something I should know to keep us from derailing, but I also feel that the only way to find out is to read a world history book from start to finish, all over again.

There is another part of history that seems to be repeating itself: The Cultural Revolution of China. China is starting to crack down on religious citizens, on Christians, and it is also starting to “sort” people according to their accomplishments and income. It’s the 1960’s all over again.

The world is about to burn, and I know somewhere deep inside my brain how the match got struck. I want to remember so maybe I can warn people.

But like Clover, I find that the details escape me, the information that was once fresh has gone stale and even missing. And it worries me. My gut tells me we are nearing a cliff and we need to turn around. We need to remember we are all “us”.

6 Comments

  1. You may be right. Some days it seems as though we are all headed for an unimaginable disaster that will engulf the planet in unspeakable horror. Other days things stumble along as usual with the normal ups and downs of life. Mark Manson’s latest essay really helped me, especially his last point. I hope you’ll take a look and get a little comfort from it also.

    https://markmanson.net/6-things-people-should-stop-giving-so-many-fucks-about

    • Thanks, but that didn’t address any of my concerns. The first 5 things on that list weren’t even on my radar, mainly because I live in Norway. The 6th thing: Trump as one person is not the issue. The issue are the attitudes and beliefs that got him elected, attitudes and beliefs that are on the rise in all Western cultures—just like a century ago. The invaded nations and the US were just as anti-semitic as the Nazis (my grandma told me of how FDR ignored pleas in the 1930’s from US Jews to please do something about that Hitler fellow). We ignored signs, we ignored the oppressed, and we ended up nose-deep in muck for years. Here’s the thing: Europe can get invaded; the US not so much. So from this side of the pond, I’m seeing things I was hoping I wouldn’t. That’s why I decided to write about how I feel about our current state of affairs.

      • A well-put essay, Keera. And your subsequent comment echoes a realization I have had over the past year or so. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the one side had a mantra “USA–Love it or leave it.” My reaction then was “I do love the country, but not the people running it just now.” But it’s not just the leaders, it’s the people who elected and even support them now. And I can no longer dismiss them as a few ignorant fringe cases. It’s disheartening. And it’s not just the USA.

        • Thanks, Ed!

          I’ve pretty much dismissed the ignorant fringes myself over the years, but I think we’ve reached critical mass now, as evidenced by Trump and Brexit and China’s rising neo-Maoism. So I’ve chosen to say out loud what I so far have only felt or thought. I see the need for change, of handing the torch over to the next generations. I just hope it can be done without war.

  2. You know I agree with you. Trump has been the topic of many of our discussions. My gut tells me there is good reason to worry. 😣

Roll with me!

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