He said the American people will never knowingly adopt socialism but, under the name of “liberalism” the Democratic Party will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until we become a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. Almost 70 years later, we are still debating whether our nation has fallen into the hands of the ultra- conservatives, moderate liberals or democratic socialists, lurking deep within the boundaries of our Constitution.
The preamble of that Constitution mandates that the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union (society), promote the general welfare of all American citizens. So, let’s see if that’s just a rhetorical dictum promoting socialism or a literal aphorism justifying liberal politics.
It might be said that the first major step towards socialism in America began in New England in 1767, when the first tax-supported public school for girls was established. At the time, there were public schools for boys, however, women were considered second-class citizens and were excluded from public schools of any kind. Most rich families in high- society were opposed to paying taxes to aid the poor and giving young women the same rights as men, claiming it was socialism. Sound familiar? But the gradual move towards what some call socialism didn’t stop there.
Socialism is viewed through the eyes of the beholder. Today, most veterans, and in some cases their family members, benefit from government-sponsored “socialized” medicine. True, they deserve medical care, but some of these same veterans are opposed to a similar government-funded healthcare option for all deserving Americans including the homeless and families who are poor, claiming it’s socialized medicine.
In 2004, Sen. John Kerry ran against former President George W. Bush for the White House. About 200 veterans organized “the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” campaign against Kerry. More Republican vets joined the propaganda machine questioning Kerry’s valor and claiming he was too liberal because he supported Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Hilary Clinton’s proposals for national health care insurance. They were instrumental in defeating their fellow veteran who, unlike most of them, was decorated with the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for his three-year service in the Vietnam war zone. I wonder how many of those vets who can afford their own private insurance and complain about liberals still take advantage of Veterans Administration facilities?
In 1935, the Social Security Act, a government insured pension plan, providing financial security for aged retirees was passed by Congress. Every working American pays an additional tax (insurance premium) to the fund until retirement. Then, they receive a monthly check for the remainder of their existence. Everyone, rich or poor, receives the benefit of their initial premium payments. In some cases their total retirement funds received exceed their premiums paid. However, I don’t see any wealthy Conservatives who argue against socialism refusing the overpayments subsidized by other tax payers. Do you?
The Social Security Act also established unemployment insurance for those temporarily out of work. It is funded by both federal and state unemployment taxes paid by employers. Today, government, business and labor credit unemployment insurance for reducing the severity of recessions and fluctuations in our economy. I wonder how many Americans opposed to socialism have collected unemployment insurance while working and getting paid “under the table” by conservative Republican businessmen opposed to fraud, government waste and socialism.
In 1965, Medicare became part of the Social Security Act, providing a national healthcare plan for all seniors collecting social security checks. Unfortunately, because of fraud committed by patients, insurance companies, the medical profession and frivolous lawsuits initiated by unscrupulous lawyers. Socialized medicine for the elderly is rapidly going broke and is strongly criticized by both the left and right of the political center. The left blames the lack of regulation on the Republicans. The right argues socialized medicine just doesn’t t work. In this case, both sides might be half right and all wrong.
Public organization is the basis for any society. How we organize our society is prescribed in the Constitution. The Constitution provides the instrument for change through amendments and is the fulcrum between individual rights and collective freedom. The polemics of change is what democracies are built on. The results of those changes will always be subjectively viewed as being too moderate, extremely liberal or ultra conservative.
The national healthcare plan is just another social step in our organized society towards creating a perfect union that promotes the general welfare of all Americans. It may be considered socialism by some but every American will have similar healthcare options as our veterans. What is so anti-American about that?
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.