I have to hand it to him--former President Clinton's speech to the DNC this week was classic Bill. As much as I disagree with his political views and detest what he did to the presidency, I have to admit that he is a talented orator and that he and Hillary provided the first glimmer of passion and excitement in what had to that point been a yawner of an event. (Did anyone see the keynote? What was that guy's name? Wilson? Winter? Oh, yes, Warner . . . .)
But also in classic Bill fashion, the lies were flowing freely. And how subtle they were, often hinging on just a single word yet propagating broad and far-reaching falsehoods. Case in point: Clinton's call for the United States to "renew" its commitment to fighting AIDS/HIV once a Democrat president inhabits the White House. Now, to "renew" something suggests that it has lapsed, no? And yet, United States AIDS/HIV funding has increased steadily ever since it began over 20 years ago. (Here's a publication that charts the history of AIDS funding in the United States.) In July President Bush signed a bill tripling U.S. funding to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis worldwide. And Bill Clinton says we need to "renew" our commitment to fighting these diseases? What planet is he on?
I am reminded, as I so often seem to be this days, of Orwell's prophetic vision in his classic work 1984. In the world of the protagonist Winston Smith, history is rewritten on a daily basis, and the stupid and vacant-eyed "proles" accept the revisionism without question:
For a moment he [Winston] had shut his ears to the remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the telescreen. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grams. . . . Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?