I recently received a forwarded rant from a disaffected American who decried the waste of American dollars while ‘hurting Americans’ seemed to be going without aid. This rant ended with the solution that seemed obvious to the writer, elect the ultra-nationalist, Donald Trump. I hope that Americans who are feeling the same anger as the writer of this article can see their way clear of the less-than-obvious outcomes of such a foolish choice.
In my view, America is great! It really is! Not everyone in the world wants to be American, but many do, and those who don’t want to be American still admire the democratic and economic success of the U.S. But American people are feeling the pinch of putting out a lot of money and not feeling that they’re getting much in return. Naturally enough, that makes them angry.
Unfortunately, many decades of “common wisdom”(saying and repeating things that aren’t necessarily true) has brainwashed Americans into equating socialism with communism. Therefore, if communism is our enemy then socialism must also be our enemy. But most Americans have no idea what socialism is. They only know that they are against it. I think to myself, “Really?”
“If you hate socialism,” I think, “then you must hate driving on your local roads without paying tolls. You must hate accessing the library without paying a fee. You must hate the fact that your roads are plowed in the winter without calling a business to get them plowed. You must hate having emergency services a phone call away. You must hate being able to send your kids to school without paying tuition. You must hate being protected by the military and various crime-fighting (government) organizations.”
Socialism is simply an agreement that there is a “common good” and that governments are elected to study issues and decide where it is best to apply common resources to provide for that common good. WARNING: Socialism does mean that wildly successful entertainers, investors, and professional athletes may have to settle for living less ostentatious lifestyles because they will be taxed! If Americans can cope with the idea of living with caps on the excesses of the rich and famous, they would probably enjoy the benefits of socialism. (A little more for the middle and lower classes and less for the upper extremes.)
In an example of how America is being capitalistically wasteful, Warren Buffet, (a man whom I admire) has cited health care costs as especially wasteful in the U.S. He has compared private health care as being like a “tapeworm” in the U.S. economy. It consumes more GDP than any other single segment of the economy. The US pays more for its health care than any other nation on Earth. Sure, the US health care system provides excellent care. If you consider getting three extra months of life while lying in a coma in a hospital bed as “excellent care,” they have it. A telling article about this phenomenon can be had by reading http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/06/01/the-cost-conundrum the “Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care”.
If thinking Americans can wrap their heads around this issue and get over the idea that socialism is by definition, “evil,” they might be able to begin righting their listing ship of state. The problem with Obama care was that it was far too compromised by fear-mongering and greed for its broad intent to be effective. That is, it didn’t go far enough to be effective. Now, those who opposed it have grounds for citing its failures – because they intentionally helped cause the failures. Rather than working for the common good, they balked and obstructed until serious compromises finally allowed its passage, but it was much like applying a bandaid on an arterial hemorrhage. “Gosh, look! The blood’s still coming out!”
What’s needed is clarity of thought, a lot less fear and the guts to defy well-monied, greedy interests. Today in America, fear is the enemy and it seems to be driving well-meaning Americans right into the arms of the waiting terrorists, courtesy of angry Donald Trump who lies and bullshits his way through life. Amazing!