Beware, there’s a scam surrounding socialism

She sat down next to me in the Doctor’s office. On the table was a copy of the latest Time magazine. One could not miss the bright-eyed young Congresswoman featured on the cover. I heard her say with a disparaging tone, “Ugh. That socialist!” She is clearly over 65 years old; and there is a 99.9% chance that today’s Doctor’s visit will be paid for her by Medicare.

I wondered, does she know the meaning of the word she is using? Does she understand why she is connecting a photo to socialism? Does she understand the American Medical Association opposed Medicare claiming it would be socialized medicine? How would she feel if her Medicare was taken away?

That socialist! We are experiencing a misunderstanding and misuse of the word socialism in our country. The woman at the Doctor’s office probably remembers the Cold War, when Americans were afraid of a Communist takeover; and the word socialism wrongly became synonymous with communism. Perhaps she remembers President Reagan using his podium and his authority to make the claim that Medicare brings us closer to that dreaded socialism. As though there was something inherently dangerous about socialism. Socialism, after all, when correctly used describes a range of economic and social systems. And if it were true that Medicare means socialism, wouldn’t that make her hypocritical for using her Medicare card?

Socialism, as falsely viewed by many on the right, is to be feared because it will lead to government takeover where we lose control of our own lives. But if we are truly a democracy; then how could we, in charge of our own government, allow our government to take control over us without our own doing? If one fears a government takeover, then one should question whether the U. S. is truly a democracy.

President Trump and his conservative friends are now promoting “socialism” as evil and using it as a point of attack to attempt to shut down our government’s role of intervening through programs like Medicare and Social Security. Intervention on behalf of the common good is not socialism; it is the job of a government by and for the people.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the face of the movement working for policies that promote health and security for all Americans, but the right has made her the face of their enemy they’ve named “socialism”. They know full well that legislation their “enemy” might win to provide a better life for all Americans will work against their own self-serving agenda.

The woman at the Doctor’s office sees a photo of a face and blurts out a word that has been distorted through the decades, rendered meaningless, and is now used as a battle cry in a war against progress. She fires a shot, repeating a sound bite designed to be a weapon to kill the very social benefits she enjoys. Does she understand that the army behind the face on the cover of Time will fight to preserve her Medicare and capture the forces that move in from behind the lines to take it away? Perhaps she should reload and think about it.

Kathryn TastoComment