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Glimpse Into The Inner Party
August 22, 2018
by William P. Meyers

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Sympathy for Winston Smith

I am reading George Orwell's 1984 again. I read it in high school, and I've read it once or twice, at least, since. Every time I read it I notice things I missed before. I've been making notes, of sorts, on my Facebook page, if you want to follow my amusement more closely.

The protagonist Winston Smith (on page 168) visits a member of the Inner Party, B'Brien, where he confesses he want to join the anti-party, anti-Big Brother underground. But what struck me was how similar Winston's feelings are to those of any ordinary person admitted to the residence of the rich and powerful.

"But merely to walk into such a place needed an effort of nerve. It was only on very rare occasions that one saw inside the dwellings of the Inner Party, or even penetrated into the quarter of town where they lived . . . The whole atmosphere . . . the richness and spaciousness of everything . . . the white-jacketed servants hurrying to and fro—everything was intimidating."

I realized, reading this, that despite a lifetime of political activity I have only been in the house of a high-ranking member of either of the major political parties once. It was when I was seventeen. In my class at school was the son of a powerful man, Frederick H. Schultz. This was in 1972, when I was a high school senior, during the primaries that eventually led to George McGovern being the Democratic Party nominee for President, and the re-election of Richard Nixon.

I don't remember why my friend Fred took me to his home. I was not clear on the gradations of rich and powerful people. Almost everyone at my high school had rich parents (not me). To me the dentist's son seemed just as beyond me in spending as any of the heirs of the truly rich that were there. All I cared about, in terms of status, was the school boy competitions in athletics and academics.

Fred Schultz, Senior was probably from a rich family, since he graduated from Princeton. He then got a law degree, but went on to become president of a local, Jacksonville, Florida bank. In 1963 he was elected to the Florida state legislature and was its Speaker in 1969 and 1970. I don't know what he was doing in 1972, but in 1979 he was appointed by Jimmy Carter to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. You don't get much more powerful than that.

I don't remember much about the Schultz home, except that it was way bigger than my parents' house. Mr. Schultz was there and my friend introduced us. There was a black female maid there, I think. We were not there long, a few minutes.

I will say that many elected officials are fairly accessible, especially when they are running for office. I have been able to ask quite a few questions about their positions, in person, over the years.

Partly it is a numbers game. There is only so much time, and in a congressional district the numbers of citizens are huge. On average, about 330 million divided by 435, or over 750,000 thousand to a district.

The best way to meet politicians, of course, is to volunteer to work for them. They never really have enough volunteers. But don't expect to be invited to a dinner party at their house. A fundraiser, perhaps.

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