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We Are All Socialists:

Yes, I admit it. From the moment I wake up to brushing my teeth at night, I am a socialist. I don’t want the government “out of my life.” It is socialism that brings me my mail every day; socialism that provides me with public parks and playgrounds; socialism that provides me with the streets and highways I drive upon to work and to Disney Hall and to the mountains; socialism that provides my wife and me with social security payments; socialism that provides my friends and me with the Medicare option; socialism which provides me with bridges to cross and ports to receive goods from other countries; socialism which provides me with the security of a National Guard and an army, navy and Marine Corps to defend me and my country; socialism which provides for scientific and medical research which may lead to a better future for my children and grandchildren; socialism which provides agencies to receive tax forms, and analyze, issue refunds, investigate cheating (which cheats all of us) in the tax structure; socialism which provides libraries – not just the ongoing Library of Congress and various archives so essential to a nation’s identity and continuity, but libraries all across the country –in fact, probably the world’s greatest system of public learning institutions; socialism which allows us various means of public transportation; and, yes, socialism which provides for humane and decent welfare for both children and adults who, through no fault of their own, are poor, indigent, or otherwise unable to care for themselves; socialism which provides the means to take care of the mentally ill; socialism which provides the detention centers and prisons for those who cannot be trusted to be at large in society; socialism which provides some (albeit meager in the USA) means of supporting the arts through the National Endowment for the Arts; socialism which provides the means for many to attend college who might not otherwise be able, for compromised as it may be in this economy, the U.S. public university system is still the envy of the world; socialism which provides our other public schools – K through 12—and now even Pre-K in many states; socialism which provides us with a national zoo and state and local zoos across the country – to the delight of generations of children and adults; socialism which provides the many zoos which are the last hope for saving many creatures from the graveyards of extinction; socialism which provides us with national museums and galleries, also so important to our sense of history, tradition, and posterity; socialism which allows for national monuments, cemeteries, memorials, statues, gardens and arbors; socialism which provides food stamps for the hungry and support for children who are abandoned, abused and neglected; socialism which provides for the publication of historical documents, books, monographs and other works essential to a democracy; socialism which provides us with necessary regulations and processes, such as copyrights, passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, business licenses, consensuses, and the like; socialism which provides regulations of airline flight patterns so that we can fly from here to there in relative safety; socialism which makes possible some degree of necessary rational standards in health, welfare and education – as the Constitution requires the government to do. Yes, “socialism” provides services and programs for all of us.

Then, of course, socialism provided the recent bailouts of America’s major banks and insurance companies with tax-payer dollars, the same dollars which conservative CEOs previously had so often bad-mouthed were now a welcome salvation for their own idiocy and profligacy. As Gore Vidal accurately remarked, “What we have in America is free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich.”

And, all of these socialistic services, how are they paid for? Why, of course, by our taxes, which is why I agree with that great American conservative Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, “I like to pay taxes, for with them I buy civilization.” Yes, I am a socialist. And so, too, dear reader, are you.


Paul Cummins

Mirror Contributing Writeropinion@smmirror.com

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