To the editor:
What bothers me about a recent letter – “Public opinion about socialism” – is its oversimplification of a complicated problem. America is never going to become a socialist country. Neither do I think the mainstream media supports socialism. I do think the media reports numerous instances when politicians use the term to denigrate (and oversimplify the perspectives) of an opponent. When President Trump refers to Joe Biden as a socialist, the lie may play well to his base and on Fox News, but it obfuscates a more serious problem in America today.
I suspect the popularity of politicians like Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, has more to do with our current economy and politics than a misunderstanding of what socialism means. Personally, I don’t care what you call the economic system, but I yearn for more economic equity and fairness than the current status quo. Is it equitable when the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans receive 20% of the nation’s income and own 30.4% of all household wealth? Is it sustainable when the bottom 50% of American wage earners struggle to make a living and own just 1.9% of household wealth? And why is America the only developed nation in the world – just about the only nation in the world – without some form of universal health care? The hollowing out of our existing public health system and services is at least in part why we have 4% of the world’s population, but 25% of its COVID-19 infections, and by far and away the most COVID-19 deaths. Meanwhile we spend more on military than the next seven countries combined!
Fearing the rise of socialism misses the point. We should be asking how we can best create more equity and fairness for all Americans.