Sunday, March 8, 2020

You don’t have to be a socialist to want to improve America

Not Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan Sleepless in Seattle
Frank Watson tells us in his Thursday, March 5th commentary in the Cheney Free Press, that, “…patriotism really is a good thing.” Read on and discover that what Frank means is that if you agree with him, you’re patriotic and if you don’t, you’re not. But Frank is not so much commenting on patriotism as he is on socialism — a favorite axe Frank enjoys grinding.

Frank is taking Bernie Sanders to task for advocating accessible and affordable health care for all Americans (Medicare4A), and vastly improved education, including tuition-free undergraduate degrees at public colleges and universities. Not one for nuanced argument, Frank paints all the Democratic candidates (even Mike Bloomberg, for cryin’ out loud) with the same broad brush — dipped in red to reflect their socialist (and by extension,“communist”) leanings.

I responded to an earlier lament that Frank wrote about the evils of socialism (CFP, 10/17/19) by pointing out that Frank, as a member of the military, spent much of his working life living under a model socialist system, and now in his retirement enjoys continuing socialist programs (Medicare, Tri-Care for Life, military pension, and other VA benefits, including burial). Nevertheless, Frank believes he isn’t a socialist, and that’s because Frank doesn’t want other Americans to enjoy the same benefits.

The bottom line on Frank’s arguments extolling the virtues of America’s hospitals and universities is that he’s right — they are excellent. They just aren’t affordable for the vast majority of Americans. You don’t have to be a socialist to want to change that.

“When we stop and look into the face of poverty,
we recognize that “the poor” are not strangers.
They are our sisters and brothers, members of our human family.”
A Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops of the State of Washington

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