To the Editor,
I read with despair John-Eric Koslosky’s PE-article about the Socrates’ Café discussion over whether “socialism” is a “dirty word.” It has become so—despite the fact that much of what’s essential to our republic is socialized. How many of us could make intelligent election-decisions without public education? Where would many elderly, ill, intellectually disabled, or poor families be without Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security? What about public libraries, roads, parks, CHIP? Would we enjoy even some protection against corporate greed, pollution, and labor-exploitation without government regulation?
Would Thomas Jefferson’s claim that “though the will of the majority in all cases is to prevail…the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression” be realizable without the equal representation that defines socialism’s inherently democratic character?
The answer’s “no.”
Yet we’re apparently so comfortable taking for granted the benefits of socialism that we pretend that they’re gifts from God or features of nature. However loudly Patriot’s Voice members insist that it’s an “excuse ideology,” or that the founders would have rejected these essential institutions, that the PV had a town park for their party is a benefit of “a political system in which the means of production are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles,” AKA: SOCIALISM (Encarta). Could they have hosted the party at a privately owned park? Only if its owner were a Confederate Flag vendor or Cleon Skousen, “one of the legendary cranks of the conservative world, a John Bircher, a grand fanaticist…about secret conspiracies…to impose a one world government” (www.salon.com, 3.17.09)—and writer of “The 5000 Year Leap,” Runyon’s gift to Mayor Knorr.
So what drives the fanatical-right to call Obama’s health care plan “socialist”? NONE of their claims are true, and many are crazy fear-mongering nonsense. FALSE: that the plan includes euthanasia, “death panels,” rationing, diminished access for veterans, disadvantage for small businesses, forcing people to forfeit insurance, or that the HNN1 vaccine’s an extermination conspiracy.
It’s FALSE that “medical research…would become political.” Indeed, it’s refreshing to have an administration that finally takes science seriously and understands that the foundation of a democracy is its PEOPLE, not the profits of its Blackwater, etc. cronies.
Health care isn’t a commodity like a car or a house because health is not merely something desirable; it’s a necessary condition for the exercise of our human rights, hence health care must be accounted among the most basic of these.
The far right’s opposition to health care reform isn’t, in fact, about health care. It’s about Obama and the willingness to resort to ANY strategy to weaken him.
Substitute “black” for “socialist” and you’ve the truth about the Tea Parties, the “Birthers,” the corporate-sponsored town hall harangues, Palin’s psychotic “tweets,” and Glenn Beck’s Neo-Birchers. This isn’t to say you can’t disagree with Obama without being a racist.
I think we should go single-payer and get the insurance/pharmaceutical vultures out of health care entirely. The least we can do is provide a public option, and a little competition for those 46 million uninsured Americans.
The current “controversy” isn’t for a minute about “free” markets, Constitutions—or the dangers of “socialism.” It’s about FOX-and-friends “real” American: White, far-right, and nationalistic; it’s about how desperate Republicans are to regain power.
The Neo-Birchean tea-baggers would rather let people suffer from lack of access to a doctor than have a black president in the Whitehouse. But they wouldn’t for a second give up their own health insurance or Social Security.
Wendy Lynne Lee