People have been throwing the “S” word around in the last year or so. It’s a dirty word so hide your children’s eyes while I reveal it: Socialism.
I don’t see where a little socialism ever hurt anyone and frankly it offends me when people use “Socialist” in a way equivalent to a bad word. As Michael Moore pointed out in Sicko – no one complains that we have socialized police and fire departments. Our schools are socialized, and they educate the majority of each new generation. And, yet, calling someone a socialist evokes terror even in liberals as though Big Brother is lurking just around the corner.
I sometimes joke about being a Commie but I am not truly a Communist. I think we have seen that it doesn’t work on a large scale. Of course, I think we are also seeing that Capitalism doesn’t work well, either. Or, perhaps, just the poorer people are seeing that. I tend to think the rich people don’t see much of anything besides themselves.
So, if I were in charge – and I mean truly in charge, not fighting Republicans all the way (don’t worry, I will be a gentle Dictator and I will pass on the torch once I have fixed this effed up country) – if I were in charge I would raise taxes. People in this country complain too much. If it’s not whining about the drought in the desert, it’s about how they don’t want to pay more taxes and how dare the governemnt fire all those teachers??? You cannot have it both ways, people. If we cannot afford to teach our children, we must find a way to afford it!
Of course we need to look at other ways to fix the budget problems as well. The previous mayor from my town really screwed us over in many ways – among them hiring a bodyguard at the City’s expense. Had he been a little less crooked, we may not be fighting to keep libraries and rec centers and pools and nature preserves open. We also got hit harder than most in the housing crisis since more than half of the city is made of new developments, many of which are left unfilled. You hear stories about people having no neighbors at all on their streets, or about developers paying off car loans in the hopes that you will buy one of their houses. The government is currently talking about raising sales tax in our city and I am totally down with that. If I have to pay a few more pennies at the register and it helps keep kids playing basketball, checking out books, or taking swimming lessons, I’m all for it.
As leader of this country I would also provide healthcare for every single person here. If you’ve spent any time at all reading this blog, or listening to me rant in person you might know this is, um, a passion of mine. When my daughter was born I chose to stay home with her. My husband, at the time, only made $11/hour and we had a hard enough time putting food on the table, insurance wasn’t an option. Period. When I hear people say it was my choice to go without medical or dental insurance (and I have heard this said before) it makes me want to punch them in the face. I’m a fan of Michael Moore, but it was a long time before I got up the emotional strength to watch Sicko because it hit so very close to home. I want every single person who feels that privatized healthcare is better to say that to the face of this boy’s mother. I want them to attend his funeral and to look everyone there in the face and still have the guts to say it’s better this way. I realize that there are issues with government healthcare, but anything is better than nothing. And once we have the anything, we can work out the kinks until it’s running smooth and perfect.
If I ran the country, I would make sure choices were available. Vaccinations or none, homebirths or planned cesareans, homeschooling or public, gay marriage or consensual polygamy, Christianity or Athiesm – all of these are valid choices that should be supported by the government. People need to be free to be who they are. In this way, like many Republicans, I want government out of the lives of the people. The way I see it is that the government is rather like a structural support we can reply upon to provide for us our necessities like health care and education, but that’s it. People fear that socialism brings too much governmental control, but I do not see how that is necessary, nor do I want it that way.
I love that we have choices in this country. That we really get to pick who our leaders are (usually *cough*Bush*cough*), that we get a say in the laws that are made for us. But sometimes I feel weary about how very fucked-up it all is. The only people who can win an election are people who can afford the best advertising. The only people who can afford advertising are rich. That’s not a lot of choice. I was a big fan of Howard Dean because one of his campaign promises was to end privately-funded campaigns. If we were to do that, we could end the popularity contest. Anyone could run for government! We’d have more candidates to choose from and more people who honestly want what is best for the country. We would have less people with money-based agendas like GW Bush and his buddy Cheney. If we could take money out of the equation, we could REALLY make some changes.
But I am not Communist, believe it or not. I’m OK with people being rich. The part I am not OK with is the part where we continually shit on the low-income folks (and, yes, we do, but this blog entry is long enough as it is). Or the part where the rich people make all the choices for the rest of us when they don’t live our lives or face our daily struggles.
I would also, as your gentle leader, get rid of all environmental contaminants, make all food organic, encourage cloth diapers (perhaps implement socialized diaper service?), make the switch to clean and/or recycled oils to power cars, and generally make the world the safe and beautiful place it was meant to be.
It’s really not so hard is it? I mean, once we remove the monetary ties from those who make the decisions. But it’s NOT so hard. Maybe that’s why it hurts so very much to see how far we have to go.