Democratic Socialism, often referred to as “Socialism”, in America, is a very blurred concept for most who try to envision how it could possibly work. And as we see Bernie Sanders nearing the end of his presidential run, a campaign unstoppable in appearance, Bernie Sanders supporters all around the country again have to come to grips with the harsh reality that history, ignorance, fear, and a little bit of understanding, have defeated the possibility of moving forward with such drastic changes to our way of life.
Democratic socialists propose that capitalism has failed to achieve in providing for those who are most vulnerable in society, and it fails to mesh with any distinguishable form of democracy without strict regulation to protect the citizens from predatory pricing, pollution, political influence… But America doesn’t have a distinguishable form of democracy, in fact, scholars struggle come up with a new understanding of what exactly to call America every year.
In a democracy we vote to elect a candidate who will go on to represent the needs of the community from which the representative was elected. The representative has the task of understanding what is needed back home and then working to create laws and resources to fulfill those needs. In America, including sales, property, income, and all other forms of taxes, we pay on average around $10,000/yr each. In a simple system where a person pays taxes, they might expect certain things in return: roads, competitive schools, bridge maintenance, clean water, access to a sustainable food source, occasional medical assistance, and a few other reasonable things that someone paying $10,000 should receive.
Do our tax dollars go to keeping our roads and bridges safe in America? Do we all have schools that we feel safe sending our children to? Can we trust that our drinking water is safe, and when it isn’t that the problem will be fixed? Is the production and delivery of our food done so in a way that is sustainable, and removes risk of future shortages? Will all who need it have access to medical care when sick?
The Corona Virus has tested the ability of the American system on all fronts. Three years of gains have been erased from the Dow Jones, and as we sit helplessly in our homes, the money we’ve been told was not available to pay for a universal healthcare system (which costs less than the current system), and the money that wasn’t there to fight climate change, and the money to “pay for” immigrants, who actually support our service and agriculture industries, is being squandered. Donald Trump seems to be making every wrong move, and at the same time somewhere in the area of $6 Trillion has been doled out to Wall Street and big business; all the while leaving those of us who left our children at home to earn that money out, to wonder if our “landlords” will be able to evict us when the money doesn’t show up (Less than a $1 Trillion went to the American people in this “1st” bailout).
We have a tendency in our great nation to refer to where our money comes from, and goes to, as “the government”; “The government” pays my social security, or “the government” collects my taxes. We’ve been disconnected from ownership of America, it’s assets, and the decision-making process all together, and we’ve been left with a culture broken by wars for oil and purposeful political divisions (as they shelve civilization changing energy technologies).
Can Democratic Socialism work in America? The answer, unequivocally, is no, we all know that. But we also know that our system and way of life has been stolen. So to ask if Democratic Socialism would mesh with the system that these predators have put in place, is to keep going on and on in a never ending debate when we should be asking what our government is, and what it is supposed to “do”. Because when we answer those questions, whatever you want to call it, it comes down to some simple facts: 1. We work hard to feed and educate our children, and to say that those hours are worth $15 as the owner of the position makes $1000, is not what we choose. 2. The United States government (The position of POTUS, the NSA, Congress, the military, all public schools, all government buildings, the EPA, the CDC, the IRS, the SCOTUS…), all ours, as a people. It is not some scary entity when we get rid of the wolves, and when we replace those who stand in positions of power who do not challenge the wolves. The only possibility of keeping The United States Constitution in place, is to decide what we value most, and vote for the candidates that represent those values. Moderate Democrats will continue to stand in the way of progress. There is no gray area, even if that’s what their media keeps saying; you are either in Washington for the sake of having power and money, and will use religion, fear, and every other tactic to achieve it (includes those simply and endlessly debating against these false political tactics) , or you are there fighting for rights, equality, and every protection that we should be afforded after all that we have built, after all that our parents sacrificed to keep us safe.
A system where we understand our resources, where we understand our needs, and we have a well thought out process in place to make it all happen, is not a scary military dictatorship hell bent on limiting healthcare. In fact, it is simply us deciding what we need to do as the responsible Americans who not only earned the resources but will also inherit the consequences of not respecting our planet or the needs of every individual citizen.