Thinking Caps On

I don’t understand why socialism is such a dirty word. Well, I do, but the detractors are using it out of context and as a weapon to strike fear into gullible red-blooded Americans everywhere. Tactics, always tactics.

Granted, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are offering up some exotic and expensive program ideas that one would think don’t have much chance of becoming policy anytime soon. But people are running scared simply at the utterance of the word, without making any distinctions. They hear the word and think anyone who likes the ideas must be a Communist.

Who do we believe anymore? Who do we trust? It can’t be whoever has the loudest voice, because that would be Donald Trump, and he’s a special brand of idiot masquerading as a stable genius.

People who are trying to be perfectly reasonable get painted as radicals or communists, or just plain weak. These are people who recognize, perhaps, that human beings aren’t built for a go-it-alone, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps, self-made existence. Which isn’t to say people can’t thrive living in that mindset. It’s just that life becomes one long contest with self-involved participants. There should be a baseline of “winning” for everyone. And I’m not talking about the kind where everyone gets a trophy.

The decades-long Harvard study confirms that the healthiest people are people in relationship with other people. We are– forgive me– social animals. Social is in our DNA. One can argue for extending this to how we treat each other, how we think about our responsibilities to each other. And doing so doesn’t make us any less patriotic.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world only if we let it be so. The alternative takes a bit more work.

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