Let’s Talk about Socialism (and the sub-text Totalitarianism)
Wow, where to start with this one. I’ve been reading a lot, as per, regarding what used to be a debate about much needed health care reform in this country. That debate has since devolved into mad, crazy fear-mongering and nutjobbery about the creeping tide of communism/fascism/LOUD NOISES coming to our country.
A quick stat for you: here’s a nice graph of all the companies that Obama has nationalized…
It should also be noted that of the nationalized business assets, the leaders of each corporation went to Washington D.C. and *begged* to be nationalized. In no case that anyone has seen has Obama, nor anyone in his administration been aggressive in this regard. We’ve even begun to see a profit on some of the money we invested.
To compare and contrast, take a look at Hugo Chavez. You’ll also note that in the case of Chavez, and every other historical power monger, they have had no fear of loudly declaring their intentions.
Sadly, to those of the crazed and dazed right of this country, it is in fact Obama’s lack of saying he wants pull any of this crap that means he really wants to. I know, I know, that doesn’t make any sense to sane and rational people, but that’s where we are at nowadays.
One of the major fears that opponents of health care reform (and more the point, foes of Democrats in general, as that who is really driving the “debate”) is the generalized fear of government that all Americans now seem to hold near and dear.
This fear tends to be illustrated by the mantra, “what has government ever done right?”
When I hear this, I’m always reminded of a wonderful scene from a movie about a guy who wasn’t quite Jesus.
The argument here, however, isn’t that government is the end-all, be-all solution to all problems. No one, outside of the Hugo Chavez’s of the world is making such an argument. The point here is simply that while often inefficient and frustrating, it’s nice to have clean water, and go the store and buy clean meat, and turn on the TV and have clean signals, and the list go on for a while.
Back to the greater point, what about totalitarianism? This is the actual fear that many Americans have, that an all powerful government will watch their every move, torture them, re-educate them, and the destroy their economy.
The really funny thing about contemporary Republicans (not to be confused with conservatives, who have largely been left out in the cold by the extremists) is that when this was actually happening, and the government was conducting warrantless wiretaps, torturing people, and destroying the economy by borrowing a trillion dollars to conduct a war sold on lies, there come from the right a defeanening silence, if not outright cheers.
Indeed, many decided that torture was all right for their safety, and warrantless wiretaps were needed for their safety, and invading countries that didn’t attack us was necessary for their safety. Back then (all the way back in 2008) the President needed to have all these powers and this vast leeway in order to protect the United States of America.
It was terribly frustrating to make the argument at that point that no, we really shouldn’t be starting a two-front war when the first front is stalled, and no, we really shouldn’t be torturing people, and no, borrowing money to blow stuff up was a bad idea, as anyone who stood up to this trend was quickly branded a Godless Treasonous Anti-American. I would politely (well, relatively politely) point out that whatever powers were handed or conceded to Bush, would by proxy be handed to the next President, which at the time looked to be another Clinton.
This would generally generate a moment of pause, and then the nationalistic ferver would again take over and the “Love it or Leave it” chants would come louder.
Now the shoe is on the other foot, and finally many can see how poorly it fits their conception of our nation.
So rather than deal with it, and work to get these policies revoked, they’ve instead decided that NOW it is UnAmerican to pay their taxes, and NOW it is UnAmerican to have their kids in school. I will give Dick Cheney a bit of credit though for consistency though, he still thinks torture is awesome. His only problem is that the Obama Administration isn’t learning the tactic and is, gasp, actually looking to prosecute some of the folks that did it.
Where can we go from here is the question that probably bugs me most. We have an entrenched class of nattering nabobs who have convinced nearly half of the Republican party that our President isn’t even really an American.
What can you say to the deluded that brings them back down to reality? What can you do when evidence placed directly in front of their faces in ignored? How can you convince those convinced they are fighting the next Hitler/Mao/Stalin to take a deep breath, relax, and use their right to vote in the next election, and actually trust in the very fiber of our Democracy and trust in the Constitution they profess to love so much?
I certainly don’t know the best answer to these questions, but luckily I can accept comments and suggestions as to the right path. I know there is one, somewhere.
Perhaps I believe so because somewhere along the way, as I was protesting against the war, and the torture, and listened to those absolutely sure Bush would stage an attack to secure a third term, and then found them to be horribly mistaken, somewhere along that way I learned to breathe, and I learned to relax,. And I remembered to vote for what I thought was right.
I learned that change can come. Now that change is here, and the fear it brings came right along with it.