Bilerico Report

I embrace democratic socialism & here’s why you should too

March 14, 2016: US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, Missouri.

March 14, 2016: US Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Family Arena in Saint Charles, Missouri. Shutterstock

Even before the Cold War and the so-called “McCarthy Era,” the right has flung the term “socialist” at their political opponents to discredit their characters and dismiss their political ideas and policies. This continues today as opponents continually attack Senator Bernie Sanders who has described himself as a “Democratic Socialist.”

As destructive and as freedom-killing as the right would have us believe, socialism involves the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution where each of us has a stake in the success of our collective economy.

No country in the world today stands as a fully socialist state; 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 and poor.

If a socialist is a person who advocates for a 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 advocates for the further nationalization of our parks, forests, mountains, rivers, and offshore waters, rather than allocating increased corporate mining, drilling, and timber rights, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist is a person who advocates for free and quality education, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist advocates for a government-sponsored program that guarantees our seniors a retirement system that ensures a high quality of life free from economic burdens, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist is a person who advocates for the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist battles to eliminate workplace and larger societal inequalities, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist is one who works to ensure that everyone is guaranteed a comfortable and secure place to live, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist supports effective governmental regulations on food producers to safeguard our food supply, and limits on corporations to defend our environment, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist challenges a military industrial complex that marches to the beat of industry, and a prison industrial complex that perpetuates the inequities pervasive throughout the society, then we should all be Democratic Socialists!

If a socialist is a person who contests and advocates for effective restrictions on the so-called “free market” economic system, 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 and inhibits massive inequities in the accumulation of wealth by the top one percent of the nation, 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, here were the results

  1. Norway
  2. Denmark
  3. Switzerland
  4. Iceland
  5. Finland
  6. The Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. New Zealand
  9. Sweden
  10. Australia

The United States did not make the cut in the top 10 but came in at 15. We would do well to look to these countries for some of their socialist policies that sustain high levels of quality of life for their residents.

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

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