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. At that time, we had 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 was fortunate to be selected as a guest on the show.

I also started going to classes being offered there on how to interpret and read the bible. And, of course, I sold a few books too.

Although the woman is Caucasian 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, sharing with me how she was responsible for getting a busload of people to Washington to protest his policies. It’s said that  you should never talk about politics and religion because they are toxic topics.

We were going back and forth with our own ideologies 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. We all seem to have differing viewpoints on the topic.

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 an equal chance at a good education;
  • Having a decent health care system that’s not run by insurance companies who look at us as as commodities for profits, and, in my opinion, 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. 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 interpretations of 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, 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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About Shirley Harris-Slaughter

I love old buildings and history. That's why I ended up writing about the history that surrounded me all of my life - "Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community." Plus our church had closed and the school is torn down, so I felt it was imperative that we preserve the history or it would be lost forever.
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  1. Wendy Scott says:

    Thanks Shirley – it’s criminal that people suffer healthwise and financially, while others profit from their misery. Yes, it’s a great thriller plot, but it’s all too real for so many.


    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Wendy, that is so true. If people weren’t so greedy and corrupt we could have an even better health care system. Mitch McConnell is taking millions from the drug and insurance industry and he will get rewarded if he passes this draconian health bill.


  2. Gwen Plano says:

    Great discussion! We are blessed to be able to discuss our perspectives freely.


    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Yes Gwen. Its great that we have an avenue if we need to rant or vent just long as we do it respectfully. That phone call is what triggered me to share that conversation in order to get more perspectives on the issue. Thank you so much for stopping by.


  3. Vashti Q says:

    I believe ‘Socialism’ is a great idea in theory. Unfortunately, there are far too many greedy people in the world for it to work properly––the way it was intended.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Vashti you are correct. Greedy people always ruin it for everyone else. I was just reading a newspaper article in today’s paper where the FBI broke up a Medicaid fraud ring spanning several states and over 400 people nationwide. It was a large bust. I say single payer is the way to go because it cuts out the insurance companies and doesn’t leave a lot or room for fraudulent and greedy activities.


  4. Micki Peluso says:

    Socialism as a theory by Karl Marx sounds like Heaven on earth but it has never been able to work well for the reasons Jan stated. Humans, as least some, seem to have a built in desire to be the best at what they do and are competitive.What if as cavemen we never got the idea, at some point in evolution to build the wheel, or grow crops, learn to paint on cave walls, learn to preserve history by storytelling and then the written word. If we are all on an even keel–enough food, clothes, etc. what is there to achieve? The achievers are the ones who create the jobs for those who are in need.Still we need to see that our children are safe, fed, warm and cared for as well as educated so we can pursue the going forward toward goals which will further help us–and in some cases hurt us. Merging the best of capitalism with the best of socialism might be the way to go.I think both parties need to start working together to form this instead of collectively doing nothing but emanding exorbitant paychecks, while having their own healthcare that we would die for. The have both forgotten, perhaps by choice, that WE the people are the government, not the other way around. Just my thoughts which I would hope are accepted as such.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Micki your thoughts are well accepted. They are your thoughts and you are just as right as everyone in this forum thinks they are. I’m so glad you came and added your 2 cents to the conversation. lol.


    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Micki, I believe, like you, that a mix of socialism and capitalism will serve us well. We had a lot of greedy people who brought down our economy because they forgot how well those two principles worked. The far right republicans don’t want we the people to collectively help ourselves when it comes to our precious health and the far left democrats want to give everybody everything. We can’t have it all so we must compromise for the good of all the people.


  5. Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

    Gwendolyn Worthy, the main character that keeps throwing the shade is the current occupant of the WH. I honestly believe that he is obsessed & jealous. You don’t trash the outgoing administration, and certainly not do it so the whole world sees it.

    On another note, I do think socialism has gotten a bad rap and the phone conversation was disturbing enough to cause me to write about it.

    Thank you Gwen, my long time friend, for joining the conversation.


  6. Jan Hawke says:

    Shirley, if you can agree to disagree with this lady in the murky conversational waters of politics, then you’re probably safe to pursue an intellectual relationship, where you can have a reasonable debate over things that ‘matter’., 🙂
    The health care system is a good example of how to measure the hygiene of a democratically run society. You probably know that here in the UK, we also have a central government/tax payer supported health service. Regrettably, it’s nowhere near as well-run as the Swedish and Canadian models you mention, being dominated by the accountants and pen-pushers (with the pharmaceutical industry lurking in the background. 😦 ); but, especially with emergency treatment, everyone can expect a decent health service here and can access suitable medical care reasonably quickly. Money still gets you better, quicker treatment, but it’s the mostly the same medical staff and hospitals that serve everyone, so, from that point of view, it’s a level playing field for rich and poor alike.
    As for the rest – it’s so hard to imagine an ‘equal’ society, let alone achieve one. Personally, I think it’s partly to do with our core human nature, despite being naturally social ‘herd’ mammals. Historically, there’s always been a cultural hierarchy in our societies, with the more balanced models lasting longer than the more extreme or aggressive attempts at social engineering. I hope that a truly equal society can eventually be reached, but I doubt that this will come soon while greed, envy and the need to dominate or manipulate pollute our natures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      I need another whole post to talk about the drug industry in our country which I personally despise. Not only do they charge astronomical fees to use their products, they get to shove it in our face on national television day after day, week after week. Back to this woman, I thought the conversation went from good to going nowhere to reaching and impasse. How’s that for getting through a volatile situation? Jan I really appreciate your comments. Thank you for joining the discussion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jan Hawke says:

        If only this could happen a little more with negotiations over hot political potatoes, the world would sure be a much better place to live in. Live and let live, while doing no harm (just to get another medical metaphor in! 😉 ) should be tattooed inside every politician’s eyelids.
        Always a pleasure to join in a meaty debate with you, Shirley! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. dlfinnauthor says:

    Wow, I just took a nice deep breath and enjoyed your reasoning and definition of the word– socialism. I have found myself trying to explain the same thing. It is strange times we live in and hard to express our own opinions without being attacked for them by opposing opinions. I feel like if people just educated themselves they wouldn’t be so easily led– and then, what is going on now…well, perhaps would be. Gwen ranted for me, too. I try to do the right thing by applying logical and educating myself. I have been known to throw in a commentary on greed in some of my writings. On a bright note, I have really been educating myself and learning a lot more about our government than I ever did in school! It is wonderful we can all express our opinions, thanks, Shirley!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Yes DL its good to get it out. That’s why I wrote this post. I was a bit disturbed and felt it needed addressing. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey Slaughter you’ve covered the topic of Socialism well. Your Associate was hell bent on letting it be known how she felt. The political structure, should’ve effected the majority of people who pay taxes and may feel that there is a better avenue to correct some to the ills in this society. Someone seems to be always waiting, to throw shade on the last administration even though there was more progress made, than has been showed at this time with a unread hostile clown at the helm. Now that the Christian Caldeans, are being force out, based on the promise of the now Adminstration, that very group of people, that are standing with signs protesting the removal of loved ones are the very same people that voted for yours truly. Strange how ignorance can be the driving force for a group to bring on their on demise because of the color of the skin and a few other things that they were told to believe about the last President. And How many know that President Obama is a distant cousin of Chaney. How about that. Gwen on the keyboard kicking out an objectional point of view even though it may be taken lightly. JUST LIKE THAT!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter says:

      Yes Gwen, I did know that VP Cheney was a distant cousin of President Barack Obama. He doesn’t want to own this brilliant man. What a shame. I’ll take him! lol


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