Bernie Sanders and Good Socialism

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Political enemies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have repeatedly referred to them both as socialists. Bernie Sanders – who’s also running for president – routinely draws crowds in the thousands. It’s fascinating that a man who proudly calls himself a socialist is outdrawing every other presidential candidate in America. In 2015. Sanders’s growing popularity with the American people is a clear indication that the days of socialism as a badge of dishonor/disdain/distrust may be behind us. To be sure, there is bad socialism. There is also good socialism. Bernie Sanders knows the difference between the two.
 
Technically speaking, any nation with a system of currency is socialist because money is how goods are produced and distributed for/by its citizens.
 
In America, examples of good socialism are all around you. They appear in ways which virtually no one has an issue with. Do you enjoy traveling on smooth interstate highways? Have you or your children ever attended public schools, public libraries, or public parks? Have you ever dialed 9-1-1 for the local police department, the fire department, and/or the EMTs? If so, you’re a recipient of good socialism.
 
Socialism occurs every single time the Sanitation department comes to pick up and take away your trash. Socialism happens each time you or anyone you know receives any sort of money from the government – be it a disability check, a Social Security check, a tax refund, an unemployment insurance check, or Medicare benefits. If you’ve ever received TANF benefits, EBT benefits, WiC, Peachcare, or any other public assistance, you are undeniably a good socialist. It’s ok, buddy. Breathe in, breathe out.
 
Let there be no doubt. The taxpayer-funded bank bailouts, the emergency loans extended to the US auto industry by the government, and the rescue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in 2008 are all huge examples of good socialism. Corporate America and Wall Street absolutely love the government - even when they pretend not to know why.
 
Professional sports is filled with proud and unrepentant recipients of old-school, original recipe, good socialism. The Atlanta Braves are currently building SunTrust Park - a brand new, $700,000,000 state-of-the-art baseball stadium in Cobb County (suburban Atlanta). The Braves organization only paid $200,000,000 of that $700,000,000. Guess where the remaining $500,000,000 came from? You guessed it: from higher taxes on tourism dollars in Atlanta. People who dine in Atlanta restaurants will pay more for their food. People who fly into Atlanta – for whatever reason – will pay more for their airfare. People who rent cars in Atlanta will pay more. People who stay in Atlanta hotels will pay more for their stay. Whether they’re Braves fans or not, Cobb County residents will pay more in taxes just because the Braves’ new stadium will be located there. This happens all the time throughout this great nation. It’s as American as mom, baseball, and apple pie (pun intended). As of yet, I’ve heard no cries of outrage. I’ve heard no demands for investigations from the Georgia statehouse. I’ve seen no picket signs outside Turner Field. See? Good socialism is OK in the U.S. of A.
 
Here’s another example of good socialism writ large. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or as I call it – ‘Obamacare” – is the law of the land. Certain politicians, media pundits, and strategists have long believed that the ACA is destined to bankrupt our government, destroy the American job market, and dramatically increase medical costs and insurance rates. None of these dire predictions have come true. What those fine folks never tell you is that Presidents Bush, Bush, Reagan, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, Ford, Carter, Truman, and Nixon all attempted to pass universal healthcare legislation. President Obama happens to be the one who actually succeeded. Deductive logic dictates that every one of those Presidents – progressive and conservative – were, in fact, practitioners of good socialism.
 
The benefits provided by our government for members of the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, and their families are glaring examples of good socialism. Isn’t it peculiar that those who demonize socialism the most benefit from it the most? This fact applies to both sides of the political aisle.
 
Bernie Sanders appeals to a significant number of Americans because he’s sincere. I don’t think he’s going to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but I respect that Sanders will answer any question about any political issue from anyone at any given time. He shows up and he speaks from his heart – even if you don’t like what he has to say.
 
Reforming Wall Street. Real family values. Creating decent paying jobs. Income and wealth inequality. Getting big money out of politics. Climate change and environment. And a living wage for all Americans. Those are the pillars of Bernie Sanders’s presidential platform. Maybe it’s me, but none of his objectives sound tyrannical. Bernie isn’t Dr. Evil.
 
Bad socialism is communism. And in case you hadn’t noticed, communism as governance is all but extinct. Mother Russia has been a democracy for 25 years. China is far more democratic than its leaders care to acknowledge. Cuba is next. Don't believe me? Just watch.
 
You can be a patriot and appreciate good socialism at the same time. Bernie Sanders knows that. Do you?
 

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