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Community Editorial: Claire McGee sounds off on misperception about “socialism”


Claire McGee, Newport

I was helping a friend take out the recyclables this past weekend, and the headline “Obama socialism will not work” jumped out at me from the opinion page of the local Newport paper. I chuckled and wondered why my friend would have kept papers around from 8-9 months ago. I checked the date – and no – it WASN’T dated April 1st. In fact, it was dated just a few weeks ago!

What a load of ‘crap.’ (Excuse my French, and excuse me for referencing the French. And my apologies to the French.)

First of all, it is one of my pet peeves, how seemingly educated Americans confuse Socialism with Fascism, and then proceed to use them interchangeably. To bleat that Obama is a champion of Socialism is laughable. It’s no secret that I didn’t vote for him … but still ….

I’ve noted that even NPR, the public radio station that the ‘right wing’ claims is a ‘bastion of liberal support,’ refers to him as Mr. Obama. In my over six decades of life in this country, I don’t recall ANY president ever being referred to as “Mister.” What a slam! Even in his hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii — upon his arrival – he has NEVER been given a lei in greeting. All past heads of state were given leis, including Dan Quayle – who upon alighting from the plane at the airport, declared that “Hawaii is in the middle of the ocean.” Tee shirts were printed with the quote; we were all so amazed at his astute observation. I know this, because I lived there during the Quayle days, and still have friends living on the island. The Hawaiians talk about ‘the local boy’ as if they have been scandalized by a family member’s prison sentence.

I digress. Socialism. Socialism is the basis of your police department, your fire department and your libraries. Not bad stuff in my observation.

Fascism, on the other hand, has often been referred to as Corporatism. Our country is much closer to being a kissing cousin of Fascism, than it is of Socialism. Corporations run our three branches of government. They plant their former CEO’s and CFO’s into ‘our’ government, and once there, they craft the legislation to benefit their former and future employers.

Case in point: The recent “heath care” program, currently being touted as “Obama Care.” Some people only seem to know how to repeat the rants of addle-brained drug addicted folk such as Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. What “passed” as a Health Care Bill – is laughable. “Obama Care” hands over even more money to the profit-laden insurance industry. I concede, there do seem to be a couple tiny things that slipped through, that actually DO benefit a few previously uninsured Americans, but the largest result of this “Obama Care” is how it funnels even more money into the coffers of the bloated Insurance Industry and its CEO’s. It is a Far Cry from Universal Health Care – Health Care For All. Those who supported Universal Health Care weren’t even allowed a seat at the table. So much for “socialism” in America …

The United States ranks #37, according to the World Health Organization, in providing health care to its citizens. This is being a “leader?” Go ahead and “Google” the Health Care Rankings around the globe. We lag behind such advanced constituencies as Andorra, Malta, Singapore and Spain, who rank 4, 5, 6 and 7 respectively. We are Number Thirty-Seven. What we have in this country is more aptly called “an insurance benefit to the corporations and their CEO’s” because the average American is going either without insurance, or bankrupt because of the legislation written favoring the Insurance Company CEO’s (who are doing very well, thank you.) Americans HAVE no health care, to speak of. We DO have great care for the Insurance Industry, however.

Socialism, not to be confused with Communism, (despite the decades long ‘education’ of us all, by the American Corporatists), is (according to my Random House Dictionary) “a system of social organization in which the means of production and distribution of goods are owned and controlled by the government.” As I said, similar to the Police and Fire Departments, and the Public Library. Fascism, on the other hand, is defined (same dictionary) as a totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism, militarism, and often racism” One can google “the 14 points of Fascism” and get a complete list. Amazing how it describes today’s “life in America.”

I wish people would stop confusing their “isms.” Back to my dictionary. (printed in 1997). I looked up “Bribe,” which is defined as “money or other valuable consideration given or promised with a view to corrupting the behavior of a person, as a public official.” I’m told that the NEW dictionaries will have a modified (changed) definition of “bribe,” so as not to incriminate their corporate owners. Look at a NEW dictionary and see how the definition of the word “bribe” has changed. Corporations run our country, via bribe. Its called ‘campaign contributions’ and legislation has been created to allow all sorts of PACs, Super-PACs and so on, to ‘legally’ funnel money into the hands of ‘our’ law makers, but seriously – I ask you — doesn’t this describe, in plain and simple words, how the corporations have come to run ‘our’ government? The corporations who run the text book industry have decided to ‘downplay’ Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers … and they are changing the meaning of words in the English language … to help their Corporate Cause, and to not incriminate their corporate owners. Education in the future America will be edited by the same corporations who control ‘our’ government. The corporations who profit by our “health care system” and our “extreme militarism” can now craft the minds of the young, and change the English language – to their benefit. And people bleat what they hear and forget what WAS. They forget their history and they forget their own good. Look at any federal budget and you will see that the military gets over half of all federal tax money collected, with less than ten percent being spent on the elderly, the children and “health care for all” combined.

And while I’m at it — leave my Social Security alone. I worked all my life and paid into it every week. It is MY money. The fact that the government has been using it to finance their illegal wars and now finds it cannot pay me back, is another bone of contention – best left for another day.

I am fully aware that since our President recently signed a bill that advocates the arrest and indefinite detention of any citizen, for a reason that doesn’t even have to be stated, that under our current “ism” I literally take my life into my hands by publicly sharing my views in print. Live free or die. We all have to go sometime… I just wish that in the meantime, people would use the correct words when they want to talk about something. As an educated person, it annoys the heck out of me. One doesn’t need to be an English Major to READ and use the correct words when complaining. (or maybe one does…)

Claire McGee is retired, lives in Newpor, has been a political activist for many years and has worked on national political campaigns.

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