To much applause from his party apparatchiks during the State of the Union speech Tuesday night Donald Trump voiced the oft-repeated trope America will never become a socialist country.
“We are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control. We renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” said the demagogue-in-chief.
To which I would respond, go back to school, Donald. What about Social Security? Unemployment insurance? Disability insurance? Medicare? Medicaid? Farm subsidies, energy subsidies, food stamps? National parks? Public transportation systems? The Tennessee Valley Authority? The list could go on and on.
We live in a republic imbued with democratic and socialist policies and programs. Yes, the country may have been founded on the pursuit of liberty (for all but the enslaved) and independence (except for slaves), but it was not done without coercion (think slavery), domination (government sanctioned slavery) and control (slavery once more). What’s more, today’s Republicans want to remove liberty and independence from women’s reproductive options through coercion, domination and control.
Casting Democrats as socialists may be the newest fear bogeyman by a bully who has already labeled Hispanic and Muslim immigrants the source of most evil in our country (https://nyti.ms/2DWLuEp). He could succeed in his dark portrayal if Democrats do not fight back immediately and vigorously.
With rare exception senior Americans have come to rely on their Social Security checks arriving each month. Some even rely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver them. Democrats need to educate the electorate that Democrats initiated Social Security and that Republicans have for years tried to dismantle it.
Democrats need to begin an ongoing advertising campaign pointing out all the support programs they started amid the Republican record of dissent and budgetary cutbacks.
Turn the discussion away from socialism to social welfare and healthcare programs.
Pose: Were you struck as I was by the posture Trump took during his speech? (Take a look at the picture accompanying this article: https://nyti.ms/2DYYREg). Often pursing his lips, Trump thrust his chin up and out, like…like Il Duce, Benito Mussolini. All that was missing was an upward thrust of his right arm at the beginning. (Look for yourself at video from a 1934 speech at Taranto, Italy: https://youtu.be/OOv-Ncs7vQk)
And, as long as I’m comparing Trump to an Italian dictator, does anyone else conjure up images of a Mafia don when they see Trump walking around in an open overcoat (no doubt cashmere) while his capos are comfortable in just suit jackets?
Chutzpah à la Trump: The definition of chutzpah used to be when a man accused of killing his mother and father seeks mercy from the court because he is an orphan. That explanation, advanced by Leo Rosten in his book “The Joy of Yiddish,” can be supplanted by the racist-and misogynist-in-chief calling out Virginia Democrats for their acts of racism and alleged sexual assault.
No doubt the image of Democrats in Virginia has been tarnished. To call out their faults, however, Republicans would have to explain how they overlook Trump’s repeated falls from grace.