As we move closer to the November mid-term elections, I want to do my best to point out what I think are some of the most important issues facing our country. In doing so, I’d like to invite all moderate, independent, non-affiliated and undecided voters to our website over the next 80 days to find out some real truths regarding the two major political parties. First, a disclaimer: I’m a lifelong Democrat. Hopefully that doesn’t prevent you from checking us out. In fact, I would also urge you to check out other websites or blogs that have a bias reflecting the conservative agenda. That way, when you go into the voting booth or fill out your mail-in ballot, you’ll be armed with ideas from both sides of the political aisle and can make a better, more informed choice as to who you will vote for.
When I started this website a short two months ago with my good friend, OhioRealist, I made a pledge to answer conservative myths or lies with facts and reality. While not a social media junkie, I do spend some time on Twitter every day. It’s on Twitter that I encounter many on the conservative side who tend to repeat talking points and misleading statements that warrant a rebuttal. One of the most common narratives that permeates within the conservative community, is the dire warning about socialism, especially the type that they say Senator Bernie Sanders wants to implement here in America. Here is a perfect example of a typical Tweet:
Socialism sucks: Venezuela GDP growth 2013: 1.3% 2014: -3.9% 2015: -6.2% 2016: -16.5% 2017: -14% 2018: -15% @BernieSanders wants to bring Marxism to America. We must stop him
Charlie Kirk is a young conservative guy, a smart one at that. He leads a group called Turning Point USA, a non-profit group that according to its mission statement, aims to “educate students about the true free market values.” Not too many days go by where Charlie isn’t lamenting the “dangers” of Bernie Sanders style socialism. He likes to compare Venezuela style socialism to the Sanders model. As is so often the case, the narrative is not only misleading, it’s just plain wrong.
What Charlie, and many of his conservative brethren fail to mention, is that Senator Sanders does not advocate for Venezuelan style socialism. On the contrary, he advocates for democratic socialism. Theres a big difference. In fact, we already have democratic socialism in this country. It’s called Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, food-stamps and other programs where our tax dollars are spent for the betterment of society as a whole … the social safety net. Venezuelan style socialism is quite different. A true socialistic country is one where all goods and services are distributed and disbursed by the government itself. That is Venezuela.
The last pair of blue jeans I bought was not produced by the U.S government. Neither was the last cell phone, computer, sofa, washing machine, automobile or television set. Senator Sanders, who is an Independent, has never called for the U.S government to produce these things. The Democratic Party has never called for it either. Yet, we’re warned by the right that Sanders and the Democrats want to bring this kind of socialism to America.
It’s just not true.
To be clear, Senator Sanders and many Democrats want to provide health care to all Americans. Some want to enhance the Affordable Care Act. Sanders in particular wants to implement a Medicare-for-all health care system, and several Democrats have joined him in this effort. In addition, Sanders and others have called for tuition-free, or nearly tuition-free college. Again, these are proposals and we can have a debate on the efficacy of such proposals at another time. Perhaps Charlie and others on the conservative side fear these types of programs. Perhaps they think our country will sink to the socialistic tendencies of Venezuela. Whatever the reason, the scare tactics and demagoguery will continue unabated.
Fear is a tool. And, it’s a tool that works. They know how to play this game, and they play it well. But countering their fear tactics with facts and nuance is my pledge here. When the right attacks … when they engage in lying or misleading rhetoric … I will do my best to set the record straight. Open-minded voters are always welcome. Again, check out what the other side says and come to your own conclusions.
An informed electorate is something Thomas Jefferson felt was needed in order for our democracy to survive. I could not agree more.