- February 16, 2016 in Columnists
The only thing we have to fear is… socialism?
I’m a big fan of writer/actor, Albert Brooks and joyously follow him on Twitter. But his unfunny post after the New Hampshire primary threw me for a loop. “Trump and Sanders win New Hampshire. There should be a joke there but I am genuinely scared,” tweeted Brooks.
Albert’s half right. I, too, am horrified by the orange-faced, hothead who disparages immigrants (after marrying two of them), vows to block all Muslims from entering the country, refuses to raise the minimum wage, has no regard for the truth and can bankroll himself to the presidency. Donald Trump is a self-proclaimed genius who calls climate change a hoax and Ted Cruz a pussy.
Shocking stuff? Not really. Every follower with a microphone in his or her face tells us Trump’s just saying what they’re all thinking. Again, terrifying.
But what’s so frightening about Bernie Sanders? Is it the ‘S’ word? Really? Socialism is as frightening as eliminating the Department of Education or the Environmental Protection Agency? The thought of economic fairness and social responsibility keeps him up at night? Just what is it about socialism that scares the bejesus out of Albert Brooks?
I don’t know much about history, so I went to Wikipedia for a crash course. If you understand Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, then good for you for staying awake during history class. But for people like me, here’s a little refresher.
“The socialist political movement originated in the mid-to-late 1700s out of genuine concern for the social problems associated with capitalism. The term ‘democratic socialism’ is often used to stress its advocates’ high value for democratic processes and political systems. In the late nineteenth century, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels articulated socialism as the opposition to capitalism and advocated for a post-capitalist system based on some sort of social ownership of the means of production,” according to Wikipedia.
I know, where’s Margot Robbie in a bubble bath when you need her?
Somewhere during the twentieth century, the Soviet Union emerged as a “socialist state” even though most economists and intellectuals considered them a dictatorship. I’m guessing that’s where socialism and communism got mixed together.
During the 1960s, I was in grade school and, some fifty years later, still remember the drills. We hid under our desks (apparently equipped with force fields) in case the communists were to bomb us. Not the socialists.
I grew up with a Russian last name — Wasylenko. Hard for some to pronounce, but easy for the kids to use against me and my brother in typical schoolyard taunts. “Wasy Lenko. Commie Pinko.” Not Soshie Pinko.
The all-knowing Trump repeatedly calls Bernie Sanders a communist, but he’s not alone. Democratic Senator and Hillary supporter, Claire McCaskill, recently said Republicans “can’t wait to run an ad (against Sanders) with a hammer and sickle.” Et tu, Claire? You know, I remember back in 2006 when you were supporting Barack Obama for president and you said you wouldn’t want your daughter near Bill Clinton. Were you calling our former president a pussy hound?
Bernie Sanders hankers for single-payer healthcare. He vows to strengthen the middle class, expand the social safety net for the poor, increase the minimum wage to a living wage, fix our broken criminal justice system, provide free college for all, expand social security, reverse Citizens United and tax the super rich and corporations like GE, who currently pay zero in taxes.
I’m with Bernie on all of this, even if it means I have to pay a little more in taxes. Leveling the playing field and helping those in need seems more humanist than socialist to me. But if that makes me a socialist, democratic socialist or even a communist, then call me comrade!
In my view, the only people who should fear Bernie Sanders are the 1%. Perhaps Mr. Albert Brooks is richer than I thought.
Maya Spier Stiles North
- February 17, 2016 at 8:46 pm
- February 18, 2016 at 4:57 am