I went to the Animal Fair....I mean, Animal Farm...in 1984...just last night. Orwell is alive and well, having accurately predicted the future, and that future is NOW. Actually it was a Dog and Pony Show put on by the propaganda experts from the unelected Centralina Council of Governments. It was a room full of posters and bureaucrats handing out surveys with stupid questions. Questions like: "How would you like to see your "region" grow?" Questions like: "Would you like to see more roads or, would you rather see more houses close to work places?" Questions like, "Would you like more bike paths and sidewalks?" Questions like, "Would you like to see more open spaces and parks?" The surveys were a joke, frankly. Posters that state: "The population in our region is going to double in the next 20 yrs." Oops, "40 yrs." Oops, "50 yrs." (Seriously, they have published all three time frames in different propaganda pieces, so which is it?) Posters that tell you "the demographic is going to be a lot older and a lot poorer." Posters that say, "We can fix all these things." Posters that say, "You can be part of this VOLUNTARILY." Sure, and my Aunt Sadie was the Queen of Egypt, too.
Our county stays at over 10% unemployment. More layoffs were announced yesterday. The birth rate is declining. The previous year increase in population in this state was 1.2%. Multiply that by 20 years and you have a 24% increase, hardly double to 200% of the current population. The only jobs that seem to exist are service jobs. Manufacturing is still on the wane, and has been for years. People don't make anything anymore. They either don't have jobs or they are in service industries. Oh, and the largest employer here is....guess who? The government.
Anyway, back to Animal Farm and 1984, I managed to get several Tea Party people there. Not to be outdone, the bureaucrats had called in every non-profit in the county and had them show up. They have been told they will have a "seat at the table," and they will be in line to get more money from the Feds if they participate. I was prepared. I had printed out flyers of information for anyone and everyone, countering the lies and subterfuge. I handed them out. My husband and I were watched every minute by the smarmy, nasty, beady-eyed bureaucrats in suits. We engaged people in conversations and asked them if they would read my flyers. I had good feedback from most, thanking me for my editorial in the paper and telling me they didn't know about this prior to reading my editorial. (side note: it is good to find that people actually do read newspapers today.)
The Dog and Pony Show also attracted two of our City Council members who were promoting this "regional government," federal monster that they voted to join on our behalf. One of them didn't look me in the eyes and barely said hello. The other, a woman, did engage me in conversation. And here is where the whole thing went off the rails for me. Below is an account of that conversation.
"Hello Councilwoman." "Hello Cheryl." I then said, "Councilwoman, I have information for you on this regional government and I would like to come to your office and share that with you." "Oh," she said, "No, you don't need to do that." "I already know how you feel." I said, "Councilwoman, you do know that you were misled and that the Director of Centralina Council of Governments misrepresented all of this to you, don't you?" She said, "I know how you feel and I just disagree with you." I said, "Councilwoman, I have copies of the HUD grant and the actual grant application that proves you were misled." I'd like very much to share that with you, so that you might revisit this situation and rescind the agreement." She replied, "I can see you are very concerned about this, but if someone could prove to me I was misled or that I am wrong, I'll look into it." I said, "Councilwoman, I have the contract application right here with me." " I can show you the proof." "I can come to your office and lay it all out for you." "No, that won't be necessary," she said. Next, she said again, "I just disagree with you and that's O.K." (Was she giving herself permission to disagree with me?) She continued, "You are entitled to your opinion." I replied, "Councilwoman, this is not opinion." "I have the facts right here," showing her my folder of documents. "I would like to discuss them with you." "May I have an appointment?" "No, that won't be necessary," she said. "But if someone can prove to me I was misled, I'll revisit the vote for this." (HUH? Didn't we just go through that? And didn't I just tell her I have the proof?) "Councilwoman, you represent ME," I said. "I would like to show you the proof that I have." She then rolled her eyes and said, "Well, if this doesn't turn out the way we think, then maybe I'll look at it again," dismissing me at that moment. Goodbyes all around....end of conversation.
It's 4:00 a.m. right now. I couldn't sleep. I woke up at 3:00 and my mind went back to that exchange with the Councilwoman. There was a bit more to it where I gave her three examples of lies that should be obvious to anyone. She pretended to listen, but refused to acknowledge them. I have a lot I could say about her personally, based on this and other conversations with her in the past, not to mention her votes on issues. You don't want to hear (or read) what I personally think of her after this conversation. It wouldn't be fit to print. But I have to say, George Orwell should be very proud. His worst predictions have arrived, right here and right now.