We are a nation of United States. Lands that are sovereign, able to govern themselves; yet, we realized many years ago that even though each state is sovereign, together we are stronger. Many regard the United States of America as a Christian/Protestant nation, in which one of the main staples is the belief that "united we stand, divided we fall."
These were the beliefs that the founding fathers, though many were hypocritical slave owners, built this great nation upon. Wars were fought, unions were created and many gave their lives not for their own gain, but for a better future for the children of this nation. Many lived a nightmare so that the dream of a nation of men created equal could survive.
The "pie in the sky" dream of a nation of truly free men has never been more evident than as it is today. Contrary to the foundation we attempted to build this nation upon, it seems that division has become the new tool to unite those who should stand together to become bitter foes. Just the mere mention of ideals such as socialism or redistribution of wealth can spark a hateful response from people of all walks of life.
The fact that people feel so strongly about socialism pushed me to do some research. What is Socialism? Let us first make this clear: socialism (noun) the theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of capital, land, etc in the community as a whole.
That doesn't sound all that bad to me. In fact, when I read the definition, my first thoughts were "Wait a minute, there are many socialist practices in the U.S." How can this be if so many our political leaders stand so fiercely against Socialism? I mean, in all honesty, aren't unions and the police force or fire department vetted in a socialist belief? Socialism almost seems a natural progression of life. Most working individuals pay taxes (despite the fact that the affluent don't pay their fair share...more on this later) and those taxes are redistributed by people we collectively voted into office for the benefit of all Americans, even those that don't pay taxes.
Interesting. Socialism, in Marxist theory is considered the stage that follows capitalism in the transition of a society to communism...okay, now I see why our political leaders are so adamantly against Socialism. In their eyes, the more our nation becomes socialist (because we already practice it in theory on many levels) the more power the people will gain as we move towards communism.
Now, let me make this clear, I am not saying that this nation should be a communist nation (I.E. China); however, this perverse notion of capitalism that we practice is becoming increasingly hypocritical and doing more damage to the majority of our brothers and sisters than not.
When the majority of people suffer in a democratic nation, are we not obligated to explore all possibilities to stop the suffering of our people? Millions of people are exploited and because we chose to hold on to an ideal, capitalism, that we never really practiced in theory.
The rich want you to believe that we practice capitalism, which warrants the free market that we supposedly operate in to determine who thrives and who fails. In other words, capitalism is similar in the Freudian theory of "only the strong survive."
In 2008 our nation was plunged into a great recession due to the capitalistic perversion of financial giants on Wall Street. Our immediate response, as it has been in times past, was to empty the coffers and "bailout" the very corporations that caused this catastrophe to the tune of $800 billion. Wait a minute!
What happened to letting the free market determine the winners and losers? What happened to Freud and "only the strong survive"? Why was our collective wealth, taxes, used to cover up the immense blunder that a few greedy individuals inundated this entire nation with? I'm no genius, but this doesn't seem like rocket science either. Did they redistribute our wealth to the same criminals that bamboozled an entire nation?
Fast-forward to the present. Wall Street and big banking are thriving. We've recovered! The bailout worked...hold on, pump those brakes. How have we recovered as a nation when millions of people are unemployed or underemployed? Why is it that so many people are homeless or live in extreme poverty and debt? We demand answers to these questions, especially when corporations profits have increased almost 400% over the last 40 years, yet the real wages of the majority of Americans has in effect decreased when you account for inflation.
So, let me get this straight. A very small number of people have thrived while the majority suffer and we just gave up $800 billion. I'm sorry Mr./Mrs. H. Money Bags, we are going to need that money back. How about we increase the taxes you pay or simply eliminate the tax loopholes that allow you all to skirt your true responsibility? What do you mean, no? That's socialist? Wasn't it socialist when our tax dollars were used to fix a problem you created, Mr. Wall Street Executive?
So, here we find ourselves confronting this immense hypocrisy that seems to divide us. The redistribution of wealth! Another theory that the rich hate...unless it benefits them. They are all for our tax dollars being used to fix their corrupt Wall Street and banking practices; however, when we ask for their tax dollars to benefit the majority of people so that our entire country can benefit...we're evil socialist. Are you kidding me?
Let's delve into this theory of redistribution. We've already discussed how our money can be redistributed, but the wealthy folks money is too sacred. I'm from Philadelphia, a town of two dynamics...the rich and the poor. There barely exists an in between, or middle class. Like many great cities in this country, too many people are either on the verge of poverty (despite outside appearances) or living extremely affluent. A nation cannot survive with these two dynamics; hence, the lackadaisical recovery we are currently experiencing.
Due to the extreme levels of poverty combined with the lack of gainful employment Philadelphians seem to be under attack. The wolves are out and they are dressed in sheep clothing. Gentrification is more prevalent than ever. Schools are closing while prisons are being built and universities and other business interests are buying homes solely to move the poor and uneducated out. Not only is our money being redistributed, but we, the people are suffering the same fate.
Being the pragmatist that I am, I never believed in coincidence. The true history of this nation does not afford me that privilege. Like slavery and Jim Crow, the current practices of redistribution and gentrification are a continuance of the vast systematic exploitation that this perversion of capitalism we practice needs in order to survive. In the greatest country in the world (not my personal belief) why do we have a minimum wage?
Who deserves to live minimally when they are working and the corporation they work for is financially blossoming? Prices continue to soar on everything from gasoline to bread. Whenever there is a problem taxing the people seems to be the only solution. It seems that those who we trusted to govern us are mere pawns of the corporate machine. Who will defend us, but us? We don't have lobbyist in Washington D.C. throwing money at our "elected" officials in support of us.
They try to maintain the belief that this country has never stood on the morals of Socialism. We've already destroyed that falsehood using only the examples of the recent past. If it were true that capitalism has always ruled this nation, then the country would've never recovered from the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, the wealthiest people in the land had to pay an income tax rate that hit 90% at times.
The leaders, including President Roosevelt, implored, with authority, that the wealthy pay their fare share. It was almost common knowledge that the Great Depression wasn't a singular event, but was set in motion by people like the Rockefeller's, J.P. Morgan, Carnegie Melon, Kennedy's and others. It was this knowledge that led our President to change certain tax laws that allowed the wealthy to avoid their due diligence. Although President Roosevelt was not perfect or innocent in his ignorance, he did attempt to right the wrong done to the American people.
Leaders like President Roosevelt either no longer exist or are silenced, voluntarily and involuntarily. A little more Socialism, as a economic theory solely, doesn't appear to be enough. We need to be more socialist, united, in our approach to attacking the system of oppression and exploitation. We can no longer afford to allow ourselves to be divided on issues such as race, religion, gender, place of birth, or whatever else the rich separatist attempt to employ. They won't redistribute their wealth or power voluntarily!