Republicans say that the agenda that the progressives are trying to force upon them is “socialist” and therefore, is not constitutional and un-American.
So what does Socialism actually mean?
Socialism is an economic and political theory that advocates for public and common cooperative management in a highly regulated economy. It is an idea that is based upon the principles of equality and community. It advocates for the rights of the working class (proletariat), rather than only the wealthy oligarchic ruling elite (bourgeoisie).
If Socialism was nothing more than this, then there would be nothing un-American (or un-Christian) about it, since we can find references to these principles in both the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers—as well as the Gospels. The problem is with its affiliation with other more outdated, controversial, and extremist elements, such as the elimination of private property, and of course, its connection with the dreaded shadowy specter of Stalin’s communism.
Republicans accuse left-wing socialist leaning democrats of trying to instigate “class warfare.” It is a conflict that can be traced back at-least to feudal times in the western world when powerful lords ruled over peasant serfs in the medieval era. It was a system that the Founding Fathers of this nation were actually trying to leave behind. In this case, perhaps the republicans could be accused of trying to bring back feudalism, not to mention the unscrupulous Gilded Age of the Robber Barons.
In a letter to Benjamin Rush in 1803, the Founding Father Thomas Jefferson wrote of the importance of “universal philanthropy, not only to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants, and common aids.” These are the same type of principles that President Obama has been advocating for. And for this noble effort, Obama has not only been labeled a socialist by the conservatives, but some have even gone so far as to accuse him of being the “antichrist.” This is actually nothing new. They accused Thomas Jefferson of the same thing two centuries ago when he was running for office.
Anti government conservative Libertarian/Republicans will say that the government should not be obligated to provide what they refer to as “entitlement” programs for the people, although, the government that was envisioned by the Founding Fathers was a government for the people by the people. In other words, it is a government that was responsible for providing for the “general welfare” of the citizenry. That is because the Founding Fathers did not want to see the same type of heartless and oppressive oligarchy establish itself in the new world as it had in the old.
In the Preamble to the Constitution, it says that “We the people,” not the wealthy corporate elite, “establish justice” and “promote the general welfare”; which is a reference to social justice. The same social justice that the republicans mock and decry as un-American and socialist. Also, Article 1 of the Constitution states that it is the job of the American government to “regulate commerce,” which is a reference to the regulation of private industry that the republicans also so fiercely oppose.
Conservative republicans, who claim that the initials G.O.P. stand for “God’s Own Party,” have also criticized Obama for saying that it was his intention to “spread the wealth” in his 2008 presidential campaign; although, in Mark 10:21-25, Jesus tells a rich man to distribute his wealth among the poor. He then goes onto say to declare that a rich man will have a difficult time making it into the Kingdom of Heaven. Likewise, in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus reprimands those who do not help the less fortunate. The Gospels clearly indicate that Jesus related more to the proletariat than to the bourgeoisie elite. In this case, Jesus is someone who could even be criticized as a so-called “bleeding heart” “socialist” by today’s conservatives.
Despite what many republicans adamantly believe, we progressives believe that the government does not have to be some cold robotic dysfunctional soulless beast that is separate from spirit and man. That is because “WE THE PEOPLE” are the government, and we the people believe that the government can be used to do good things for its people—just as the Founding Fathers did.
If healthcare reform is socialist, then fire and police departments are socialist. Medicaid, Medicare, and the V.A. care are all socialist. What the republicans do not want people to know is that these are all programs that work—despite republican efforts to sabotage them.