The Right Who Cried Socialism

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

It is the favorite rallying cry from the GOP and the right these days. Democrats are all socialists, even Biden, who’s decades long resume consists of moderate politics. Their attack is not just pointed at one policy or politician, but anything the Democrats do or say. It’s a snappy catch-all meant to scare people into thinking that Democrats want some sort of boogie-man communist society, where we all have food stamps with some insidious mechanism for controlling distribution of resources and wealth.

Of course, this has no basis in reality. Socialism means that the government has control of every aspect of business and reaps all the rewards. No Democrat has suggested that. In America, we have exceptions to the rule, like the Tennessee Valley Authority, stepping in where industry would not, but examples like this are far and few exceptions.

What Democrats want, and admittedly need to do a better job of framing, is for no American to be hungry, be without shelter, be without healthcare, or be without an education that helps them learn to think critically and get ahead in life. Democrats would direct our government to take a proportion of the excess profits from businesses through taxes, beyond what is needed to grow the businesses, and use it to support these basic needs.

The term that describes that is social democracy: where the fruits of a free economy are used to benefit all. Democratic voters and representatives are convinced, and they are right, that with free markets protected against cheating the system, everyone will be better off and our country will be stronger.

In truth, the Democratic platform is about building a free market economy. something that the right-wing Republicans are fighting against tooth-and-nail. I am a life-long Democrat. In the last 5–10 years I have become increasingly progressive, because we just don’t have time for incrementalism. It too often becomes 1 step forward and then 2 steps back, in the name of compromise. At no time have I ever been in favor of socialism. In all of the lies Republicans spread about Democrats being socialists, there are chasms between Democratic policies and allegations of socialism. There is also a massive gap between what a free market economy means, and how Republicans use it to line their pockets and constrain power.

The right gets away with this attack and gets their base to buy into it, because the proposals from Democratic representatives are big and sweeping. Plans like the American Jobs Plan, the Green New Deal, and the For The People Act aim to do what I believe furthers the American promise to put the power in the hands of the people. Republicans like to talk about a free market economy, but they gaslight what it means. They manipulate people’s understanding of what “free” means in the context of a free market. Does it mean companies and executives are free to extort workers and consumers? Does it mean industries are free to use and abuse our labor and resources without any regulations ensuring that workers, consumers, and the environment are protected from harm and exploitation?

The free market that most terrifies right-wing Republicans is the market place between voters and elected officials. This is why they gerrymander districts to the point that communities not even connected to each other end up being represented together, just so that the game can be rigged to keep the GOP in power. Money contributed to PACs is dark and unregulated. There is no balance of power, in that the will of the citizens is silenced by the wealthiest and most powerful players in the game. They couldn’t win, playing by the rules, so they fixed the game.

To me, that is the opposite of a free market. That is a market where wealth and power are concentrated to a very small group of people, who in turn wrest power and wealth from society.

A free market should, in essence, be one where workers and consumers have a balance of power and wealth with the companies and executives, as well as citizens with their governments. Regulations exist to prevent disasters, abuse, and an imbalance of power and wealth. They ensure accountability and transparency. Achieving this isn’t a light switch or something that can be fixed by any kind of panacea.

It takes collaboration, groups of people coming together to create comprehensive solutions, and time to improve conditions. We can start by closing tax loopholes and ensuring that corporations and the wealthiest in our society are paying their fair share of taxes. We can make progress by requiring that there is disclosure to the public, when money changes hands, particularly when it comes to campaign contributions for candidates who will regulate industries and control the commonwealth if elected.

The argument against all of this is, of course, that we need to make it easier for businesses to operate, otherwise how can they? It’s a false flag meant to treat businesses like poor fledgling enterprises that just want a fair shake. The reality is that this provides them cover to run rampant in our country, at the expense of everyone else, who pay their taxes and don’t enjoy the loopholes or tax breaks that result in avoiding any tax responsibility.

The right cries socialism, socialism and then do everything they can to prevent a free market between customers and businesses, between workers and employers, between the population that suffers from environmental harm and those who produce it, and between the voters who elect our officials through voting and those who make the rules for voting and control the commonwealth. In each of these instances, and others, free market principles are tossed out the window in the name of expediency, of winning. The right’s use of “socialism” is nothing more than a distraction for their disavowal of free market principles.

It is a diversion, so they can grab the power for themselves and their oligarch backers, to continue their only goal. It’s not to legislate, or to be public servants bound to represent the people and to be accountable to the people. It’s to be a political arm in the race to concentrate wealth and power, while convincing just enough people that they are on their side.

Democrats are not socialists, so how can we better define Democratic policies and plans, so that the American public can discern between the gaslighting of their efforts, and the reality? I hope we get there soon before voting rights are decimated across so many states, that Republicans steal control of our government from the will of the people, and we can never get it back. Once that happens, our country, our market economy, our environment, our democracy, and more, will be anything but free or equitable.

We who want to help those in need must proclaim ourselves as free market Democrats, because that is in fact who we are. We aren’t asking for a free ride — and we’re sick and tired of big business and bad politicians getting a free ride. The way to fix that is enforcement of free market principles in commerce, in employment, in climate, and in voting, to start the list. The hallmark of a free market is that both sides have the same power and therefore have to work together to find solutions that work for everyone. A vast majority of Democrats want that. Some Republicans want that. Any who don’t need to be voted out of office.

--

--

--

I have a BS in Political Science. I work as a Developer in a law firm, where I’ve been for 18 years. Just throwing spaghetti, and hoping something sticks.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Maybe It Was Trump Who Tried to Steal the Election.

AMONG TRUMP’S LAST ABUSES OF POWER

Warming up to Jim Bridenstine

Does ‘Safe Storage’ Protect Us From Gun Violence?

San Diego Mayoral Race calls for “follow the money” … Potential Taxpayer Money Used for Campaign

Boehner’s Trump 2020 Vote Shows He’s Part of Cult 45

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Courtney Fay

Courtney Fay

I have a BS in Political Science. I work as a Developer in a law firm, where I’ve been for 18 years. Just throwing spaghetti, and hoping something sticks.

More from Medium

United Nation 🤐 and the broken democracy all over the world

Opinion: America’s warriors are owed Congress’ careful attention

The Worldview of My Russian Extended Family

A field of sunflowers — the national flower of the Ukraine — is set against very dark skies.

Upheaval in Kazakhstan: More Than Meets the Eye