By Brenda Allington, Florence
On 04/07/2019, a letter to the editor entitled “Democrats Pushing Radical Socialism” was published in the Missoulian. My beloved friend, Kevin Hammond, a scholar of history and government began writing a response. As a tribute to him, I would like to finish a response in his behalf.
In 2016, a friend of Kevin asked him which candidate he was supporting in the primaries– to which Kevin answered, “Bernie Sanders.” Her reply,” But he is a socialist!” He asked her what that means, and like most people who bristle at the word, she did not know.
Now, before you bow before the altar of capitalism and disavow “socialism,” know that the United States is not, and has never been a purely capitalist society, but rather, a “mixed economy”—a combination of both capitalism and socialism. Our government operates the system to help the capitalist, wage earner and consumer. There is opportunity for private property and wealth, but also interventions to help all people—rich, poor, and in-between.
The politicians supporting “democratic socialism” are trying to convey re-establishing the balance that has been shifted to the very wealthy in detriment to us — the majority. Make no mistake, tax breaks for corporations and parity pricing for agriculture is socialism—except in those cases, redistribution of resources favors the wealthy. But minimum wage, worker protections, unemployment insurance, food subsidies to sustain lives, Social Security, Medicare, VA benefits, hospitals, roads, public education etc.—also part of the socialism mix of our economy—are met with contempt. Yet, corporate bail outs at the tax payers’ expense and with no accountability, continues unnoticed.
At its best, government intervenes in the economy recognizing that individuals do NOT live or work in isolation, but live in cooperation with one another. THAT is socialism. So, before you discard a Mixed Economy and confuse “Socialism” with Fascism or Communism, ask yourself, “What benefit listed above am I willing to sacrifice to eliminate ‘socialism’?” You may then decide that this runaway “corpocracy” be tempered with more “US” and not “ME”—THAT is democratic socialism–and Christianity.