America’s love affair with socialism


Jaime Carrillo and Jaime Carrillo

I wish I knew how to quit you: America’s rollercoaster relationship with Socialism

I was watching Woody Allen’s romantic comedy classic Annie Hall. I used to identify with Woody Allen’s character in the movie, a hopeless schlub who just doesn’t know what he wants. Kind of like America.

Ever since President Barack Obama took control of the White House, the word socialism entered the political lexicon once more. You’ve turned on cable news, “This guy’s a socialist,” “That guy’s a socialist,” “That girl, she’s all kinds of socialist!” are insults you hear on a regular basis. If you took a shot of booze every time the GOP presidential candidates called Obama a socialist during the debates, you’d be dead before the closing statement. And Obama couldn’t be less of a socialist to boot. Guess who’s actually a socialist: me.

You’ve probably stopped reading, but let me toss some truth bombs into your bunker. Socialism doesn’t always mean bread lines and gulags. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t. Any perfect society has elements of socialism woven into it. Like the very one we live in. I’m willing to bet there are some facets of socialism you’re probably a fan of.

Public Education – Back when America wasn’t tarnished by that pesky “minimum wage,” (another socialist idea) you had to pay your way through school. It wasn’t cheap either, only the privileged got an education. I bet you love the idea of people getting educated, don’t you Mr. Stalin?

Social Security – Did you know that before Social Security, 75 percent of senior citizens lived in poverty? And why shouldn’t they have? I don’t care if you have sciatica; Wal-Mart shoppers aren’t going to greet themselves, comrade.

Medicare – Here’s a big one. Ronald Reagan (along with health insurance providers) fought this one with all their might, but president Lyndon B. Johnson (who makes Obama look like Michelle Bachman) got this magnificent piece of work through Congress in 1965. Before it, only 51 percent of seniors had health coverage. And yet for some reason extending these benefits to all Americans makes people reach for their pitchforks. Or a more current reference.

The above are just a few examples.

Even now, with banks doing everything they can to squeeze profits from the middle class, people fear socialism is right around the corner. We can only hope, is my stance. The banking crisis of 2008 wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for President Bill Clinton tearing down the New Deal regulations on banking set in the last time the economy caught fire. Hey guys, remember the ‘30s?

John Steinbeck once said, “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

If you don’t like socialism, then stop taking advantage of the conveniences it provides. Stop riding freeways, Trotsky. Stop taking in federal student aid, you pinko. And get busy reminiscing about an America before socialism: a lawless frontier without paved roads and a robber baron at every corner, and I Oughta Know.