Webster’s dictionary has several different definitions for the word socialism. The one conservative fear and loathe the most is:
“A system of society or group living in which there is no private property or a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state”
This could actually be an actual scary thing, if it had any resemblance to reality reflected in the America most Republicans and I live in. Our America has the world’s largest capitalistic economy, including a thriving stock market, robust property ownership and a consumer based marketplace for goods and services second to none. The accusations of Obama implementing a socialist agenda are nothing more than political scare tactics coming home to roost. Furthermore, in the reality based world there is nothing President Obama, the Congress or the courts are capable of doing individually that can make a change that drastic. That is the beauty of the checks and balances in the Constitution.
This Obama socialism fantasy joins the other fevered imaginings that the Right Wing Noise Machine has successfully implanted into what passes for political discourse on the right. It is a big business hammering away 24/7 at false premises, making each appear to be the biggest threat to America since hippies and free love. Not only can you scare up votes for conservative candidates, you can sell some swag, garner huge contracts and overblown importance and you get to write books and be on TV. Why let truth ruin a swell deal like that.
This is not to say that the United States of America is socialism free. We live our lives every day surrounded by the benefits of the government pooling the resources of many, to provide for the common good of all. Creating and protecting our national parks, forests and monuments are all examples of good government, and with the state county and city parks available to the public, as well you have a pretty good case for continued government involvement in our lives. Now add in roads, highways and the interstate system, police, firefighters, teachers and paramedics. Let’s never forget the military men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our way of life or Medicare and Social Security, programs that allow our citizens to age with dignity. All of which contribute to make our nation and standard of living the envy of the world. All of these make the case for government having a role in our lives.
Demonizing the government social contract does fool some of the people, some of the time (and some of the people all of the time). The end result is millions in profits for the conservative media and a political voting base that laps up any conspiracy theory the conservative talking heads are serving up on any given day. We’ve seen hysterical reactions to the birther nonsense, the vague threat of community mosques, Obama palling around with terrorists, the Gay Agenda, or the new Republican chew toy, terrorism in Benghazi, but what we have not seen is any discussion of the real problems facing us as a nation today. The superfluous and the inane have overpowered policy, compromise and sacrifice for the greater good.
So, please, rest assured that President Obama is not planning to force Americans into reeducation camps, he is not coming for your guns, he is not confiscating your money and he is not making the United States a socialist Shangri-La. The House Republican majority alone will make sure no Utopia’s are created on their watch, a check on all American citizens’ balance.
Government’s role in our lives is a legitimate issue for political debate. Where should the line be drawn and who will do the drawing? But denouncing all government as an evil monster, (at least until Republicans control the levers of power again), when clearly it plays an enormous part in the quality of our lives is counterproductive and destructive.
A political party that derives it’s power from fear, alienation, division and exclusion will eventually run out of fears to monger, people who believe them and become a sad parody of itself. Welcome to the Republican Party of the new millennia.