SOCIALIST-Why, yes, yes I am…
I recently had the pleasure of carrying on a one sided conversation with one of the more colorful, lunatic fringe in my county. One sided in that this overbearing imbecile did all the talking and I was forced to listen. Forced to listen only because this village idiot, with his “don’t tread on me” t-shirt and his rebel flag bandana would not stop talking long enough to take a breath, let alone allow me to reply.
And, as I was listening, I kept hearing Abe Lincoln’s words in my head… “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” I wanted to blurt this out so this blundering troglodyte would get the memo. And, then I thought to myself, what the hell, if this guy wants to make a complete ass of himself, who am I to deny him the illustrious privilege.
After what seemed like an eternity, he wrapped up his diatribe with one word; One word spoken in a tone so loathsome that it shook me to the core—“SOCIALIST!” Since I have been involved in politics/activism that advocates fair & just treatment of society, I’ve been stalked, I’ve had death threats, I’ve had my personal information posted on open threads , and I’ve received harassing telephone calls on my personal cell phone.
This, my friends, is the terrifying reality of the radical right wing world we live in. Corporations are people, War is thought to be the only solution to a failing economy, and there are only two classes of people: rich and poor. Women do not have the final say over their bodies, yet the death penalty is promoted (even cheered); millions of people go without food, water, shelter, and life sustaining health care, while millions of dollars are being wasted on WARS, Political campaigns, and materialistic gluttony.
And, you have the nerve to call me a socialist- you, evil bastard…
Warren J. Blumenfeld, summed it up quite nicely in his December Huffington Post article:
…..As destructive and as freedom-killing as the Right would have us believe, according to the World English Dictionary, Socialism involves “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole,” where each of us has a stake and advances in the success of our collective economy.
I, therefore, would say to those who thrust the term “Socialist” as an epithet, if a Socialist is one who advocates for a governmental single-payer quality universal health care system, which includes safe and reasonably-priced prescription and over-the-counter drug therapies, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who demands that our country protects and enhances our Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid safety nets, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who advocates for the further nationalization of our parks, forests, mountains, rivers, streams, shores, and off-shore waters, rather than allocating increased corporate mining, drilling, and timber rights, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who advocates for free and quality education, not only through grade 12, but throughout higher education and after for everyone who desires and works to achieve their fullest potential, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who advocates for a government-sponsored program that guarantees our seniors a retirement system that ensures a high quality of life free from economic burdens, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who advocates for the rights of workers to organize and to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who battles to eliminate workplace and larger societal inequalities based on race, nationality, citizenship status, age, sex, sexual identity, gender expression, disability, socioeconomic standing, religion, and other social identities, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who works to ensure that everyone is guaranteed a comfortable and secure place to live, and one who fights against a banking system that forecloses people’s homes through scurrilous business practices, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who supports effective governmental regulations on food producers to safeguard our food supply and protect against the maltreatment of animals, and on corporations, companies, and individuals to defend our environment, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who supports severe restrictions on the political process to prevent mammoth contributions by individuals and corporations to buy and own politicians to influence public policy, while locking out individuals and groups unable to amass large political funds, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who challenges a military industrial complex that marches to the beat of industry, and a prison industrial complex that perpetuates the racial and socioeconomic class inequities pervasive throughout the society, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who contests and advocates for effective restrictions on the so-called “free market” economic system that enables the creation and enhancement of mega monopolies, outsourcing of jobs, manufacture of defective products, and inhibition in the development of clean renewable energy technologies, then I am a proud Socialist!
If a Socialist is one who demands a true progressive tax structure where everyone pays their fair share, one that inhibits massive inequities in the overwhelming accumulation of wealth by the top one percent of the nation as is currently the case, then I am a VERY proud Socialist!
So, I will never again allow those who wish to continue the economic and social status quo to use the term “Socialist” as a means of intimidation flung as an epithet, but, rather, I welcome and embrace the term as a declaration of empowerment, pride, and hope for a better social structure in a better tomorrow.
And, for grins and giggles… a Little Socialism Song by Roy Zimmerman: