Jamaal Bowman and the Wisdom of Orwell

The outcry against Mr. Bowman pulling the fire alarm is loud enough that he may face official censure. Will he be expelled from the House? Don’t bet on it.
Jamaal Bowman and the Wisdom of Orwell
U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 22, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Roger Kimball

What's the most famous line in George Orwell’s novel "Animal Farm"?

One good candidate comes when the animals wake up one day to discover that the uplifting, egalitarian motto that had been painted on the side of the barn for all to see—“All Animals Are Equal”—had acquired a codicil.

“All Animals are Equal,” it now read, “But Some Are More Equal Than Others.”

It’s a proclamation for our time.

Don't be surprised if Attorney General Merrick Garland decides to substitute it for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) current motto “QUI PRO DOMINA JUSTITIA SEQUITUR”: “Who prosecutes for Lady Justice.”

Actually, Mr. Garland keeps telling us that “no one is above the law” and “everyone, Democrat as well as Republican,” is treated the same.

That’s what he says.

However, he does the opposite, as anyone who compares the way that (for example) the Bidens are treated and the way Donald Trump and his supporters are treated.

It’s a two-tier, banana-republic system over which Mr. Garland presides, with some animals obviously, flagrantly being more equal than others.

The latest, mildly comical example of this dispensation was vouchsafed to us by Rep. Jamaal Bowman, “D” with a capital “D” from New York.

The gambit that Orwell described has come in handy for Mr. Bowman.

When Mr. Bowman was a school principal, he warned students that if they disrupted the school’s business by frivolously calling 911, pulling a fire alarm when there was no fire, and so on, they would face suspension or expulsion.

Now that he's an elected representative of the U.S. Congress, however, he sees how useful such disruptions can be.

When Congress was deadlocked on a continuing resolution to keep the government spending your money for another 45 days, Mr. Bowman seemingly wanted to be sure that a vote wasn't taken that might go against him.

So he reportedly tore down some warning signs advising that a certain door was for emergency use only. He then pulled a fire alarm and ran out through a different door on a different floor.
As the New York Post put it, “Jamaal Bowman didn’t have the votes, so he resorted to sabotage.”

Since candid cameras are everywhere these days, however, his antics—or should I say his “insurrectionary behavior”—were captured for posterity.

Mr. Bowman’s office first stonewalled, then emitted a pathetic non-apology apology.

“I want to personally clear up confusion surrounding today's events,” he wrote.

“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open. I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door.”

Hark: He thought the alarm would open the door.


The internet immediately and appropriately exploded with angry disbelief at Mr. Bowman’s irresponsible and dangerous action.

One common theme revolved around the old Orwellian principle that while all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.

Julie Kelly, our most tireless and percipient chronicler of the end days of the DOJ in its wholesale abuse of prosecutorial power, was quick off the mark.

“Rep. Bowman,” she wrote, “clearly violated numerous laws including 1512(c)(2) obstruction of an official proceeding. At least 320 Jan. 6 defendants including Donald Trump have been charged with this felony count.”
She added: “Must be detained, denied bail, and gave up to 20 years in prison.”

And as usual, The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway nailed it.

“I’ve been told interfering with an official congressional proceeding is the worst crime in the history of humanity,” she wrote, “and that everyone associated with such an insurrection should be enthusiastically prosecuted and have their life destroyed.”

As we heard ad nauseam from the Trump haters: “No one is above the law” and whatnot.

What will happen?


At least, not so you would notice.

Jan. 6 defendants have been treated to many months of pretrial detention, often in appalling conditions (many in solitary confinement) before being tried by a biased judge and jury and sentenced, many of them, to decades in prison.

The outcry against Mr. Bowman is loud enough that he may, just possibly, face official censure.

Will he be expelled from the House?

Don’t bet on it.

Will he be thrown in the D.C. gulag for months without bail and then be sentenced to many years in prison for doing the same thing as—actually, for doing something far worse than—many J6ers who were convicted?

Of course not.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “Where Next? Western Civilization at the Crossroads.”
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