Defense of Bernie

This Country

This writing is an excerpt from an exchange on Facebook in regards to the following anti Bernie Sanders meme. Both the person who re-posted the image and myself live in the state of Texas.  Regardless if it is the meme in question or any of the other memes, articles or quotes associating Bernie Sanders with socialism in the connotation of Marxist-Leninist states; it is an inaccurate association and no less than fear mongering.

Socialism

Meme posted on facebook

“Our country is a democratic republic that is a blending of free market capitalism AND democratic socialism. We hold elections to choose who represents us from the federal to the city level. We have industry in the form of companies and corporations of all sizes that are run by private interest and individuals. We also have programs and services that are government funded.

Taxes are collected and dispersed through different departments of the interior and distributed to the different programs that get taxpayer funding. These tax monies are then distributed to the states and down to the county and city level to fund programs and services. Some of these programs and services are completely funded by the government; government funding through private contracts runs some and others are funded by government grants in combination with private donation. These programs and services are provided to serve the people for the overall betterment of the nation.  So if you are using any of these programs and services, then you are benefiting from democratic socialism.  Meaning, if you send and receive mail through the United States Postal Service, if you send your children to public schools, use a public library, a public swimming pool or park, receive garbage pick up in your neighborhood, watch PBS or go to a free museum night, if you have a municipality that provides public works, a city fire, police or EMS service you are benefiting from democratic socialism. If you receive Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or some sort of Veterans’ Services, you are receiving benefits that are a form of democratic socialism.

The state of Texas is one of the most difficult states to receive any sort of public benefits from social security disability benefits, Medicare or welfare or workers compensation. Texas also is offering some of the most expensive programs through the Affordable Care Act in the nation.  In your argument you seem to want to blame the “government”. Well in some regards you can blame your government for *why you have a hard time getting benefits for your son, or for why I can’t get health coverage. However it is not the federal government programs that are the culprit, it is your state elected officials that are to blame as to why these programs don’t work in our state.

Go back and read the votes and look at the decisions made by Rick Perry, David Dewhurst and Greg Abbott and our Texas politicians such as Dan Patrick as well as Ted Cruz on their efforts to block programs on state and national levels. They have blocked measures that would have helped Texans to get the social services they need.  It is well known nationally that the state of Texas is owned by the private insurance industry.  In states like Delaware, Virginia and Vermont it is much easier for folks to get the services they need because their elected representatives chose the full program implementation for their citizenry.  Those states are implementing the democratic socialist programs that are available in our county today and their residents get to benefit from it.

So when folks want to throw around the word SOCIALISM as a big scary “ism” it is fear mongering and inaccurate by its implication. It is used to stir fear of Marxism and dictatorial tyrants. Senator Bernie Sanders is NOT a socialist in that tradition. What he is advocating is democratic socialism in the spirit of former presidents FDR, Kennedy and Johnson and civil rights leader Martin Luther King.  I believe the quote that you used in its correct form is actually “This country has socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor. “ It was said shortly before Dr. King’s assassination as he addressed a union group about income inequality.

Since I have known you I have been aware you are a conservative, as I would hope in all these years of friendship you have been aware that I am a liberal progressive. I don’t aspire to change your political affiliations, as I would hope you would not wish to change mine.  However I do feel what you re-posted is an inaccurate fear tactic that is being used by Republicans to scare voters and perpetuates an ignorance of how the funding through the federal government works, as well as advocating destruction of private property and that is why I feel it needed to be addressed.”

©Michelle Duncan

* Referenced in the piece is that her son is highly autistic and she has struggled to get government assistance.  It is also referenced that I am unable to get health coverage.  I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, I have not had health coverage, nor have I seen a rheumatologist or general practitioner since 2009.

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