by Jeffrey Lord
I’m in trouble now.
Last December, I walked into a Cabela’s on my way to Christmas vacation. I needed, you see, a gift card for my cousins. A Christmas present. They love the outdoors. Hikers and nature lovers, they have grown fond of Cabela’s. So what else to give them but, of course, a Cabela’s gift card?
And on occasion, I have stopped in at the nearby Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops.
And yes, I’m well out there as a Trump supporter.
All of which, I find out today, combines to give Big Government and Big Banks grounds to investigate me.
Newsmax — where, full disclosure, I am a contributor — has headlined this:
Rep. Jordan to Newsmax: Surveillance Collusion ‘Really Scary’.
The story — and it is not the only story out there about this — reported as follows:
The federal government colluding with big banks to surveil regular Americans is “really scary stuff,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Newsmax Wednesday.
The government and banks engaged in financial surveillance, Jordan told “Eric Bolling The Balance.”
“You have big banks searching private transactions for key terms at the request of the federal government, and it looks like there was no warrant requirement. There was no legal process that was done. They just said, Get this information,” Jordan said.
The story went on to say that the search terms used in this surveillance included “Trump” and “MAGA.” And, oh yes, if you have had the nerve to buy a Bible in your local bookstore — trouble. I may escape that problem because, having a half dozen bibles in my house from over the decades, I don’t need another.
Oh wait! More than one Bible in my possession? Uh-oh.
Rep. Jordan has gone on to say that if someone does what I have done, you will be “flagged as a … domestic potential violent extremist, and it’s really scary stuff that you have big government working together with big banks to surveil Americans.”
Apparently, the British author George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is at hand.
For those who may have come in late on the Orwell classic, written in 1949, here is a brief description taken from that above link at Amazon (replete with British spelling!):
Thematically, Nineteen Eighty-Four centres on the consequences of totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and repressive regimentation of persons and behaviours within society. Orwell, himself a democratic socialist, modeled the authoritarian government in the novel after Stalinist Russia. More broadly, the novel examines the role of truth and facts within politics and the ways in which they are manipulated.The story takes place in an imagined future, the year 1984, when much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism, and propaganda. Great Britain, known as Airstrip One, has become a province of a totalitarian superstate named Oceania that is ruled by the Party who employ the Thought Police to persecute individuality and independent thinking. Big Brother, the leader of the Party, enjoys an intense cult of personality despite the fact that he may not even exist. The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a diligent and skillful rank-and-file worker and Party member who secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion. He enters into a forbidden relationship with a colleague, Julia, and starts to remember what life was like before the Party came to power.Nineteen Eighty-Four has become a classic literary example of political and dystopian fiction. It also popularised the term “Orwellian” as an adjective, with many terms used in the novel entering common usage, including “Big Brother”, “doublethink”, “thoughtcrime”, “Newspeak”, “memory hole”, “2 + 2 = 5”, “proles”, “Two Minutes Hate”, “telescreen”, and “Room 101”. Time included it on its 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was placed on the Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels, reaching No. 13 on the editors’ list and No. 6 on the readers’ list. In 2003, the novel was listed at No. 8 on The Big Read survey by the BBC. Parallels have been drawn between the novel’s subject matter and real life instances of totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and violations of freedom of expression among other themes.
Here we are in 2024 in the 21st century, and, for a fact, we are now told that Big Government — the Biden-run Big Government — has recruited Big Banks to spy on Americans who are Trump and MAGA supporters and who, oh yes, have had the gall to purchase a Bible at their local bookstore.
It would be all too easy to ask if this was a joke, but clearly it is not a joke. It is a decidedly Orwellian reality.
Which is to say, when will the Biden administration be held accountable for yet more weaponizing of government to target decidedly law-abiding American citizens?
As I’ve said before, the line made famous by the NASA space program in the 1960s is applicable. The line, a slight misquote allegedly delivered by an astronaut from a troubled space flight to NASA’s headquarters as portrayed in the movie Apollo 13, was: “Houston, we have a problem.”
Suffice it to say, the news from Rep. Jordan about the combined surveillance of Trump supporters by Big Government and Big Banks summons another line:
“America, we have a problem.”
And if I am now in trouble for buying a Cabela’s Christmas card present for family members and having shopped at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro outlets, while also being a Trump supporter?
Then another movie line comes to mind, per the great Clint Eastwood:
“Go ahead, make my day.”
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at [email protected]. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
Photo “Bass Pro Shops” by Ethan Prater. CC BY 2.0.