Even before the Cold War and the so-called “McCarthy Era,” individuals and groups on the political and theocratic right have flung the term “socialist” as an expletive from their metaphoric sling shots into the faces of their political opponents to discredit their characters and dismiss their political ideas and policies, and to sway the electorate toward a conservative agenda. This continues to this very day as evidenced by opponents of Senator Bernie Sanders who has described himself as a “Democratic Socialist.”
As destructive and as freedom-killing as the right would have us believe, according to the World English Dictionary, socialism involves “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole,” where each of us has a stake and advances in the success of our collective economy.
No country in the world today stands as a fully socialist state, but rather, some of the most successful economies combine elements of capitalism with socialism to create greater degrees of equity and lesser disparities between the rich, the poor, and those on the continuum in between.
I, therefore, would say to those who thrust the term “socialist” as a curse word, if a socialist is one who advocates for a governmental single-payer quality universal health care system, which includes safe and reasonably-priced prescription and over-the-counter drug therapies, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!
If a socialist is one who demands that our country protects and enhances our Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid safety nets, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!
If a socialist is one who advocates for the further nationalization of our parks, forests, mountains, rivers, streams, shores, and offshore waters, rather than allocating increased corporate mining, drilling, and timber rights, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!