I got a call the other day from an individual who had purchased my book Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community a few years ago. She was calling to tell me how much she enjoyed it and was trying to refresh my memory as to who she was. We both attended a Radio/TV Broadcasting station in the general area. The topic of one of the radio shows was “Where Are All the Black Catholics? Needless to say I had to attend and I got the opportunity to be a guest on the show. I started going to classes teaching how to interpret and read the bible. That was about five or six years ago.
She is Caucasian but she told me she felt that we were so alike in so many ways. Then somehow she got off to another topic regarding our former president whom she didn’t like and she told me how she was responsible for getting a busload of people to Washington to protest his policies. They say you should never talk about politics and religion because they are toxic topics.
And we were going back and forth with our own idealogy until finally agreeing to disagree. The one thing I got out of the conversation as it moved ‘out of the blue’ to the topic of socialism, is that we don’t really know the true meaning of the word.
She said to her it meant trying to make sure we all had the same exact cars in our driveways, the same ability to own a home, the same schools, jobs, everything. I was floored because that was not my idea of socialism.
I said: “No! No! No! That’s not what it means!” “Are you serious?”
It made me realize that we all have our own misconceptions of what socialism really means.
I said to her, my idea of socialism is…
- paying taxes to have decent infrastructure: Water, roads, and bridges; anything that separates us from third world countries.
- Government-run school systems so everyone can have a chance at a good education.
- Having a decent health care system that’s not run by insurance companies who look at us as a commodity for profits and are the true ‘death panels’ in this country.
- Government run health care that eliminates the profits and concentrates on quality health for all. Sweden is a good example of quality health care efficiently run by the government; or at least that is what I have been told by my doctor.
Sure, our system would have to be fixed and we would have to train more good doctors but it can be done.
Because there seems to be different meanings for the word socialism, I decided to look it up. Here is what I found.
SOCIALISM is an economic system, a political movement, and a social theory. Most socialist believe that national or local governments, rather than individuals, should own a nation’s resources and control their use. Socialism calls for public ownership of land, factories, and other basic means of production.
Socialism and Communism once meant about the same thing. Communist Russia’s version meant pictures of long lines at the grocery store to get what meager supplies they had to offer; a poor health system that needed overhauling; no decent job that could sustain you; no freedom to be innovative; every thought coming from the government; no free press, and no private ownership of land and properties.
Somehow, in today’s toxic climate, I think the two versions got mixed up and that is the cause of all the confusion going on in the United States.
Canada’s health care system conjures up long lines and time waiting to see a doctor. But they negotiate for fair prescription prices…something the United States won’t do thanks to the drug industry’s grip on our government. Canada’s wages seem to be low compared to the cost of living and that is from my own observation having visited there frequently in years past. They are just across the Detroit River from downtown Detroit. I observed that Canada does take care of its citizens’ health and educational needs and it seems to be working for them.
In the United States, we have Capitalism and Socialism and they are in sync with each other except when they are not. This explains the economic meltdown we experienced in 2008. I am not a bleeding heart liberal but just a common sense moderate Democrat who thinks reasonably about the world.
Capitalism has been ripe with greed that brought down our entire economic system. I think getting back at the government for this fiasco is playing out right now across the country. We believe in the American Dream; owning our own home, land and car. Some of us believe in a fairer health care system without insurance companies deciding our fate or sending us to bankruptcy court. Some of us don’t want this at all. I think the insurance companies are part of that crowd, along with some of our wealthier citizens who are benefiting from the status quo.
But getting back to the lady that called me, she wants to arrange for me to speak to a group. Maybe I made a friend and maybe I didn’t. We will see how it plays out.
I know this topic is volatile but I gave you my opinion. You are free to give yours. This, after all, is America!
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