Letter to the editor: All of us are 'socialists,' at least to some degree
Now that Bernie Sanders is leading in the Democratic primary polls, we will undoubtedly hear more about “socialism.” This has a familiar ring to those who are familiar with the McCarthy Era. As in that time, it is the word itself that seems to trigger people most. While it is defined in a variety of ways, a common threat is that government should be actively engaged in the production and distribution of goods and services to benefit all its citizens.
So, if you went to a public school, paid into or received benefits from Social Security or Medicare, you are a socialist. If you called 911, were aided by police or the fire department, you are a socialist. If you have eaten food or taken medications inspected by the FDA, you are a socialist. If you have a drivers’ license, hunting license, or a license to practice your vocation, you are a socialist. If you have driven on a public highway, flown in controlled airspace, or walk on a public sidewalk, you are a socialist.
If you have a bank account insured by the FDIC, received a student Pell grant or Stafford loan, or paid taxes, you are a socialist. If you have received a farm subsidy, corporate tax break, or disaster assistance from FEMA, you are a socialist. If you think the government should restrict certain medical procedures, require immunizations to enter school, not allow hospitals to turn away patients that cannot afford to pay, you are a socialist. If you served in the military, helped out on Green Up Day, volunteer with your local fire department, or sat on a town board, you are a socialist.
The truth is, except for the hardest of hardcore, off-grid libertarians, we are all socialists to one degree or another. So, let’s hope the public debates get past the word, and focus on the issues that will make us a stronger and happier society. Socialism is only a word and not nearly as threatening as many other words, like ignorance, intolerance, and greed.