Americans think “Socialists” must be the same as “Communists.” Having lived most of my life in the U.S. (born here, raised here, schooled here as were both of my parents), but also having lived for almost a decade in good old Socialist Israel, there are very few differences between living one place or another except for the following:
1 – In a socialist country, you pay more taxes. You also get something back for the taxes you pay, like guaranteed unemployment insurance and medical care — and frequently a place to live if you haven’t the money to find one for yourself. The health insurance is terrific and you can live on the unemployment. I know, it seems too bizarre to imagine.
2 – You vote for parliament just like you vote in this country. But parliaments are different. Not a lot different, these days. Their “president” or “prime minister” (or sometimes, both, but one is more political and the other more honorary) is nominated by their party and often requires coalitions to make a full function parliament unlike here where we achieve the same result by simply buying as many members of congress as our money allows. Except for Great Britain which has a Queen. We have giant conglomerations instead. The Queen is more fun.
3 – So here, we vote for individual politicians who almost always belong to one of the two major parties. Israel USED to have a lot of parties and it was very easy to get elected to the Knesset. I do not know if this is still true because I’ve been away for almost 40 years. Of course, as a single person in a party of your own, you had to join a bigger party’s coalition if you didn’t want to be ignored. At least you got into the Knesset, even if it was for just one term.
4 – Parliaments let you vote when it seems like a good idea which is not necessarily on a set schedule. It depends on the country. Parliament is a style of government, but no two are the same.
5 – Communism is Fascism under a different name. It is NOT socialist. Americans seems convinced that socialism means we are trying to be like the old Soviet Union and nothing could be further from the truth. I only wish the left wing of the Democratic party really was socialist. Maybe we’d get some of the goodies that people living in modern, socialist countries expect from their government. As it stands, the Democrats are actually only slightly less centrist than Republicans USED to be before they became Trumpists. Republican are not conservative or centrist anymore and that’s rather scary. They seem to be inhabiting a world that has nothing to do with the one in which I have ever lived.
I find Republicans strange, fanciful, and weird. Sometimes entirely other-worldly. Baffling. Unwilling to listen to things like science, facts, truth, and evidence. They don’t seem to care about anything but money — which, incidentally, their governments spend more of than Democrats. Some conservatives! Many apparently really WANT a comfy Fascist government, sort of like Hitler’s Germany, but with less murder and fewer attempts to conquer the world. Some are simply too peculiar for me to talk to at all because they believe so many things that are patently untrue — like telling people that COVID is a hoax. We sure are having a lot of people dying of that hoax and other than the Republican party, NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD THINKS IT’S A HOAX.
If you hold a belief that is not held by ANYONE but your sliver of a political party, you might at least consider the possibility that, rather than everyone in the world being wrong, the problem might be you. But hey, I’ve done my best to present facts and evidence and if you can’t bother to even check out anything except crazy social network groups and Fox News, you aren’t making an effort to discover a bigger world than the one you see on your single TV station and little nutsy political group. If you don’t believe in the Constitution, freedom of the press, courts, laws, honesty, democracy, or freedom (except yours), you aren’t an American. I don’t know what you are.
Just to cover one point that still enrages me, during Reagan’s administration, the GOP voted to open up the savings of Social Security and borrow ALL of the money. Until then, Social Security wasn’t a problem. It was funded. That money was supposed to secure the future for millions and millions of us and the Republican party spent it. Where I come from, “borrowing” implies an intent to return the thing that was borrowed. I haven’t heard Republicans explaining how they will give back Social Security. Have you? One day, everyone who doesn’t die first — even Republicans — will grow old. They too might have to live on Social Security and Medicare. Maybe then — many dollars short and far too many decades late — they will wonder what happened to all the money you gave them that vanished and which none of us will ever see again.