Monday motherhood (sort of): compassionate capitalism

There was a minor concern with the girls’ dental insurance company over a rejected claim.  Today, I finally called to resolve the issue.  Nothing interesting to tell.  Case closed.  I was grateful we have good insurance for our children.  But then my wheels got spinning…

What is socialism?  Is it all bad?

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” — Isaac Asimov

Too many Americans, when prompted to define socialism, would be incapable – but ask them if it’s bad and most Americans would say ‘yes’.  Socialism: bad, bad, bad.  Stinky, ick.  We’re a capitalist society (for the most part) and our fortunes rise and fall within the private sector, be it the entrepreneurial individual or the corporation.

“Obama is a socialist!” we hear people cry from the right.  Do they even know the definition?  And anyway, he could be accused of far worse.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

And the multitude of them that believed was of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that bought of the things that he possessed was his own; but they had all things common…

… Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

That’s from the Bible, Acts 4:31-35.

What irks me is when those claiming to have a deeper appreciation of God – namely the Christian right – deny the lessons of the very man they claim to worship.  Jesus was a socialist in that he advocated for the collective ownership and distribution of goods and services for the benefit of all.  But it’s rude to talk about religion.  At any rate, I believe in capitalism, especially if it’s compassionate.

Ah, compassion.  Remember W. and his ‘compassionate conservatism’?  I wonder about those who criticize President Obama as ‘the food stamp president’, as if feeding poor people is bad.  Yeah, those little kids unlucky to be born into poverty?  Let them eat nothing!

Which brings me to the temperature of political discourse right now among Republicans.  To them, Obama is terrible and must go, even if all they have to defeat him is a guy named Mitt.  And what of us Democrats?  Naturally, most of us hem and haw when we hear our guy accused of socialist medicine.  Obamacare?  “Yeah,” we say.  “It’s not perfect,” as if amnesia has set in and we forget how hard we fought to put the Affordable Care Act in place.  No, it’s not perfect but neither was the situation of those denied health coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or the college-aged son no longer on his parents’ plan who became ill and threw his family into destitution paying the medical bills.  Not everything can be fixed at once and so, yes, health care costs need to come down but passing comprehensive healthcare legislation was a vital, overdue aspect of the Democratic ethos.

God or no God, the left leans toward socialism as defined by our founding fathers’ suggested motto, E Pluribus Unum: “Out of many, one.”

In any case, if you find yourself apologizing for our president (because you’re a wimp), don’t.  Support him.  As George Clooney so aptly put it, “Democrats eat their own.”  Let’s not anymore.  It’s not blind or misguided support.  The guy’s done great stuff.  Just because you don’t feel it every day only means that your life is like the rest of ours – busy, complicated, individual — AND indivisible, with liberty, justice, and dental health for all.

P.S. Read “Stimulus, austerity, and the weltgeist” from The Economist.

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  1. Bill B. says

    Opponents of the 1935 Social Security Act excoriated FDR for creating the first and declared it socialism. Republicans are still trying to get rid of it even though today it keeps approximately 40 percent of Americans over the age of 65 out of poverty. I guess Mencken was right when he said, “No man has ever gone broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” Mr. Clooney makes a great point about how the Republicans would sell Obama on his accomplishments: stopping jobs from leaving the country, saving the auto industry, getting rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and even taking out Bin Laden. And don’t let’s forget he pulled us back from a second Great Depression. AND ALL IN ONLY THREE YEARS. But the thing that really gets me is the fact that all his Republican (wanna-be) replacements believe that the path to posterity is repeating the policies that got us into the mess in the first place.

  2. jeaninie weenie says

    Democrats need a good advertising/marketing/publicist company! It seems Dems should be shouting from the rooftops what Obama has done (like Clooney is trying to do)…the Republicans would be! Yes, there are still alot of unemployed people, but look where we were 3 years ago…we’ve come a long way, baby! Why are Dems (or maybe it’s just Obama & his supporters?) so uncomfortable with tooting their own horn?…that’s one thing we could learn from the Republicans.

  3. Michael says

    Rove’s attack on the Clint Eastwood ad is just an underhanded attempt at tainting the saving of the auto industry. Hoping by giving the ad negative spin it will make it harder to trumpet the accomplishment. Just cynical and sad.

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