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Push back on purposeful mislabeling
Socialism has become a radioactive contemporary watchword that political forces on the right would like to thoroughly and broadly smear over the candidates of the Democratic Party. They point to the ugly and tragic Venezuelan situation and try to generalize it so that people might believe that food shortages, anarchy and dictatorial government are what the socialist brand would mean for the U.S.
Currently feeding from that line of thought, a popular media question for Democrats is, “Are you a capitalist or a socialist?
Let’s think about that loaded query in the following way:
Venezuela’s elected president, Nicolas Maduro, is a self professed socialist and undoubtedly, a state dictator. Vladimir Putin is Russia’s elected president, a capitalist, a murderer and a state dictator. Rodrigo Duterte is the elected president of the Philippines, a capitalist, an international war criminal and a state dictator. Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, an oil oligarch, a capitalist and a murderer (including infamously ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi).
You probably have never heard it mentioned that the last three of the international gangsters listed above are capitalists because it has little to do with their blatant criminal behavior. Apparently, a popular right-wing notion is that, only if you are a socialist is your economic view somehow complicit in any personal immorality.
Today’s “socialism” label associated with some Democrats merely reflects their benign attempt to bring about some version of expanded Social Security, Medicare and universal healthcare—expansion of the social safety net. Indeed, should Democrats be successful, it will raise the living standards of the U.S. middle class, working class and poor people much closer to persons of similar station in other modern Western societies. It might also guarantee that all seniors will have food (not cat food), clothing, decent shelter and quality treatment for illnesses throughout their lives. So, don’t let right-wing blather talk you out of universal healthcare and the possibility of dignified retirement years. A possible upgrade of life standards for average Americans is much of what is at stake in the upcoming 2020 contests for political office, but success can only result from our determined efforts to make it so.
In response to last week’s anti-vaxx movement editorial:
The suggestion that the anti-vaxxer trend was a concern only of the unthinking, Trump-following, conservative right was dubious. In my personal experience with private schools and an assortment of parents, it’s typically the left-leaning crowd that mostly repudiates the science of vaccinations. Perhaps the TRR’s editorial unintentionally showed two things: one, that some on the left and Trump found common ground for once, and two, the strength of scientific argument is always filtered through the prejudices and biases of the individual.