Me, Dad and Socialism

It was 1956.   The Presidential election was coming up with Dwight Eisenhower the Republican candidate and Adlai Stevenson the Democratic candidate.   Our civic minded eighth grade teacher decided to teach us a little about the issues by having our own Presidential Debate, with a number of students arguing each side.   I was chosen to represent Eisenhower.  I was clueless.   I don’t ever remember politics being discussed in our home, although from occasional comments I gathered that my Mom leaned Democratic and my Dad leaned Republican.  Perhaps that was why there were no discussions.  Hoping to find a winning argument for my side, I asked my Dad for an issue that I could use against Stevenson.   Now, I don’t remember his exact words but I’ll paraphrase what he said.   You should bring up Social Security, Bud.   Social Security is just plain socialism and that’s the first step toward communism.   Now, I didn’t know a thing about socialism but thinking my Dad had given me the silver bullet for our debate, I used it as my main point.   Nobody cared.  Except for the teacher who looked at me as if I’d suddenly grown horns.UT

There’s a certain irony that the program my father detested ended up providing part of the money that allowed him to live out most of his latter years in a very nice assisted living home.   But the incident burned the word socialism into my brain as something bad.   I have grown up more liberal than my Dad and more conservative than my Mom.  As a moderate, I support programs to help people who can’t help themselves, even if some dirtbags take advantage by gaming the system.  But the alarms go off when I hear the word socialism, or one of the euphemisms for socialism like _______ for all (you fill in the blank … medical insurance, college, pay not related to merit).  I’ve read that millennials don’t share my socialism-phobia.   As the entitled generation, doesn’t it make sense that they would support Entitlements?

And now I get to see the Democratic party lurch toward the 2020 presidential election with most candidates trying to appear more progressive.  Another euphemism for socialist.  At least Bernie Sanders admits to being a socialist, although he hedges his bets by saying he’s a democratic socialist.  Tell me the truth … every time you see him speak, doesn’t he seem like someone’s crazy uncle?  As a moderate, I would like to have a choice come November.  And if I vote for a socialist, I swear, my Dad will come out of his grave and haunt my nights.   So, Democratic National Committee, PLEASE give me a moderate candidate or you will have to do without my vote.

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4 Comments on “Me, Dad and Socialism”

  1. Rita Says:

    Bud…..I hear you but please vote. This country will be on a horrific course to destruction if Trump wins again.

  2. barryh Says:

    In socially democratic Europe people cannot understand the American obsession against socialism. It’s just helping people out when they fall on hard times, giving everyone public infrastructure, medical care and pensions, that sort of thing. Nothing like that other devil, communism!

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