Bernie Sanders, that angry Democratic candidate for president, has campaigned under several labels over the years – independent, socialist, progressive or plain old Democrat. I might also label him a scrambled egghead. He’s grumpy but as smart as a gourmet omelet.
Republican contender Donald Trump, who has no brakes on his brain, has called Sanders a communist. It’s ironic that Trump and Sanders are the two most angry voices in this year’s huge collection of Republican and Democratic contenders.
But calling Sanders a communist is far-fetched. Communists aren’t even communists any more, the way they used to be.
In fact, high-octane Russian crackpots, who aspired to reach some sort of communist nirvana, never did live in reality. The myth of hard-core communism was never anything but an extremist’s pipe dream.
Trump knows that. The Trumpster merely enjoys tormenting an aging socialist who is trying not to be so controversial as to scare away left-leaning centrists
Oddly enough, former socialistic Russia and China are now swimming in capitalism – especially when their leaders (and the leaders’ relatives) rake in mountains of cash.
Suffice it to say, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Chinese leaders are far from starving.
Meanwhile, we, the cheer-leading champions of capitalism, wave the flag for capitalism but neglect to notice that our way of life includes socialism dancing cheek to cheek with large helpings of capitalism.
In their fashion, both capitalism and socialism represent the two pillars of our financial lives. Know it or not, there is virtually nobody in this country who isn’t practicing some socialism. Capitalism and socialism are both massively involved in our daily lives – and should be. We need them both. These twin isms fill our lives with opportunity and assistance.
Socialism is capable of bringing us together for community needs whereas capitalism stands ready to help us find the ways to fill our own personal pockets.
Some needs are best supplied by private enterprise (capitalism) and other needs are supplied by the unified accomplishments of people working together for common services (socialism) – along with our urgent needs for baseball games and singing in the choir.
(It would be ridiculous to play baseball or sing in the choir all by yourself.)
While government should mostly mind its own business and let Putin and Wall Street bankers go bonkers on their own, there is a place for government – a socialist place. For instance, shouldn’t the fire department hurry rapidly to the burning house for free?
Of course, we all require a police department now and then – and some courts to go with it. Otherwise we are left at the mercy of burglars, robbers and Wall Street mortgage hustlers.
Shouldn’t we all join together and develop a safe and clean water supply for every home in our community? Or should we turn the water business over to some wealthy guy selling plastic bottles of water door to door?
Would you prefer to turn every street in town into toll streets operated by a hard-working owner who pats his wallet and giggles a lot?
Frankly, I live in fear these days – fear that my fellow senior citizens will do something crazy like provide free medical care to the aged.
Silver senior socialists have something called Social Security that depends on government help. I find myself beholden for much of my pension from Uncle Sam.
Ironically, my senior brothers and sisters, many of whom are common users of medical and pension dollars, are in denial.
Socialism? What socialism?
Ask Bernie Sanders.
Ask Donald Trump.
Ask that Russian capitalist Vladimir Putin.
Contact Bill Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501