Commentary

Are you a Democratic Socialist?

If a socialist is one who contests and advocates for effective restrictions on the so-called “free market” economic system that enables the creation and enhancement of mega monopolies, outsourcing of jobs, manufacture of defective products, and inhibition in the development of clean renewable energy technologies, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist is one who demands a true progressive tax structure where everyone pays their fair share, one that inhibits massive inequities in the overwhelming accumulation of wealth by the top one percent of the nation as is currently the case, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

This year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conducted its “Better Life Index” to determine the “happiest countries in the world,” according to its residents. Based on an 11-measure survey assessing quality of life, including housing, income, jobs, community, education, the environment, health, work-life balance, and life satisfaction, most of the Scandinavian countries, plus Netherlands, Iceland, and Switzerland, and only one North American country, plus Australia, New Zealand, and Israel reached the top 10 ranked countries.

Included in descending order are number one, Denmark, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Israel, Finland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada (which provides a single-payer health care system unlike its North American neighbor, the United States), and Australia (which places severe restrictions on firearms ownership). I am saddened, but definitely not surprised, that the United States did not make the cut in the top 10. Therefore, we might do well to look to these countries for some of their socialist policies that sustain high levels of quality of life issues for their residents.

I welcome and embrace the term, philosophy, and practice of Democratic Socialist as a declaration of empowerment, pride, and hope for a better social structure in a better tomorrow.

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