Socialism-just misunderstood

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Socialism-just misunderstood

Jacob Tutterow, Opinions Editor

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Republicans came up with a new favorite buzzword during the 2016 election cycle, designed to scare the average American back into the Red Scare mindset—Socialism. Ever since Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders decided to run for president in 2015, Americans became exposed to a different idea of government—Democratic Socialism (as Sanders famously titled himself a democratic socialist). This triggered lots of armchair economists to attack his ideas of universal healthcare, free college, and closing the wealth gap. But people on the right end of the political spectrum completely missed the mark with what socialism means, and what it means for America if more people start to govern with this ideology.

Right-wingers often equate socialistic policy with Communism, bringing back faint American memories of the evils of the Soviet Union and Mao Zedong in China. They often go as far as to place people like Bernie Sanders or recent Democratic nominee for Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams on imagery that paints them as Communist leaders. Not only does this message directly simplify the idea of socialism, it provides dangerous misinformation for the American people on what socialism means and can do for the country. Socialism, in the modern and European sense, essentially lets a government focus on providing a safety net and basic income to its citizens.

Socialism does not call for the removal of money from society. Or the creation of income classes. Or development of a one party system. Rather, it removes the corrupt influence capitalism can have on society and the people of a country. The socialists of the modern age, while some may want to completely dismantle the institution of capitalism in society, most only want the best for the people and give the necessary outlet from capitalistic influences.

Where right-wingers and Republicans see the world with increasing hate and intolerance towards immigrants, those in poverty, and those with a dissenting opinion of capitalism, socialists try to meet issues with compassion and understanding before hate. The radicalism on the right side produced the more radical side of the left, and with the rapid dehumanization from Republican officials such as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz obviously does not resonate with all people. The social change socialists see as necessary comes from this immense hate, and adopting the philosophies of successful European countries such as Norway or Denmark can provide a vessel to putting America back on track and help to heal the past wounds of racism and oppression of the lower classes.

Nobody wants a Venezuelan-style meltdown of our economy, and that will not happen in the United States, regardless if we adopt a socialist president or not. Venezuela, one of the several countries in Latin America that elected socialist leaders, fell because of corruption and anti-intellectualism in the government, which can make socialism dangerous.

Capitalism, in all honesty, produces more tyrants and more pain than socialism could in America. The way American philosophy works, a situation where someone like Joseph Stalin comes to power would take some incredible circumstances. Helping citizens rise from poverty and not starve does not equate to people feeding off the system or leeching on the taxpayer. While all systems can form inefficiencies, socialism can mean many good things for America in general. Right-wingers may want to say that socialism means the death of America as citizens know it, but that simply only comes from a party deepy terrified of the new generation and losing power in government, and wants to feed on America’s fears with propaganda against the left.

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