Bernie’s back! And he’s still America’s grandpa who just wants us have a job, receive free health care and a good ol’ college education. That and he believes climate change is real, black lives do matter, tax the rich, oh and he prefers to fly economy. This is obviously a problem for the American right wing—especially Fox News, who enjoys publishing articles claiming Bernie’s a rich socialist (congratulations to Bernie for being one of the few rich, white men Fox news hates).
You probably already know my political standings on this one—I’m definitely voting Bernie for the democratic nomination. Unlike bipartisan news networks, my writing and IGTV videos won’t be to convince anyone to vote one way or another. That is ultimately up to the research and sociological upbringing of the viewer.
What I will do is give a little lesson on the difference between socialism, and a social democracy, because I can only assume the word socialist will be thrown around innumerous times leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
The concept of socialism was popularized by Karl Marx in the 19th century. Marxism aimed to govern a society established by the working class and was capitalism’s greatest critic. He felt that profit was produced by workers, but belonged to the capitalists.
Socialists believe that any and every way of making a living is owned by a society instead of private owners. The socialist system eliminates poverty and provides basic needs to people who can’t work.
There are obviously setbacks to socialism. Socialism overlooks entrepreneurial, competitive folks, and gives the government more power than needed. History doesn’t need to tell us that governments tend to abuse positions like the pigs in Animal Farm.
If we want to examine different kinds of socialism, we’re going to have to look at the different countries that exhibit socialism. Opponents of Bernie Sanders are prone to bring up China, Cuba, and Vietnam to exude their beliefs that socialism is bad joo-joo. These countries do have socialist qualities, but they also incorporate communism. What about Norway, Sweden, and Denmark: the countries that make health care and education a human right? While they have a sturdy socialist system, they also have successful capitalists. And then there’s Great Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, which all have socialist parties, but have privately owned businesses—a capitalistic concept.
Is a social democracy a sub-branch of socialism? Of course it is, but there are many sub-branches, some more extreme than others. Calling Bernie Sanders a socialist would be politically incorrect in 2019. That’s like calling every Republican a Trump supporter.
Catch my drift? Let’s dive into Democratic Socialism.
Democratic socialism basically says that it’s wrong for the top 1/10th of the 1% of the United States to own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%, that it’s wrong the United States is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care, and that there should be paid medical and family leave.
Side Dialogue: it literally blows my mind that Americans can hate free healthcare and leaving college without debt.
I do believe the American media plays off this fear Americans have of the word socialism, because for whatever reason, they equate socialism with communism. When the majority of the world practices a form of socialism, it’s really a problem that I truly believes starts with (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) American journalism.
We’ve created such a divide between bipartisan media, that instead of defining things for what it is, news industries’ are sort of creating narratives just to get their side to win. It’s gone so far that sometimes you watch the news and it feels like reality television, which is ironic because we voted in the most reality tv-esque man to be our president.
Bernie does not pretty up the word democratic socialism. He says it for what it is, and has been saying it for so many years, that I’m actually happy it’s a word more prevalent the mouths of Americans, as it should be.
I want to emphasize that I’m not here to convince anyone to support socialism, or that America should be a socialist country. I’m suggesting that maybe full blown-out capitalism isn’t king anymore. We need new approaches and a better response to climate change and other social disruptions, and I truly believe that Sanders brings something refreshing to American politics that we haven’t seen before.
So yeah, I feel the Bern.