Red scare

by Ryne Tipton on January 2, 2016

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The main thing that drives people to the Clinton campaign is fear. Fear of a red spectre, fear that socialism, an ideology which is so integral to the image and rhetoric of Sanders, is simply thinly veiled extremism. They fear that Sanders is a man willing to strike at the heart of the virtues of political moderation and cooperation that are quintessentially American, virtues deemed necessary to sustain our national progress- and more critically, our freedom.

Fear blinds the intellectual faculties of moderate liberals: voracious readers of The Washington Post and The Atlantic, defenders of the sanctity of the Clinton family and the Democratic elite, worshipers of incremental “hope” and “change”…you know the types. They are told to see socialism as a menace, and many of them- already indoctrinated from years of Cold War hysteria- are willing to accept a narrative which places Sanders alongside Pol Pot and Fidel Castro, as a snake oil salesman who preys upon the hopes and ideals of the ignorant masses. When, as most of you all know, nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps, I’m not looking hard enough, but I don’t see “elimination of free speech” as a plank in the Sanders campaign. Neither do I see, “killing fields and the gulag.” But, alas, fear not only blinds the intellect but excites the dark recesses of our imagination.

It’s not just a fear of socialism that drives these people, it’s a fear of loss. As I’ve been told time and time again, “Look at the changes that have been made under Obama! Look at the new healthcare law! Look at gay rights, etc. etc.” And, “Think of what we could have done without Republican obstruction.” They presume that if a far-left movement comes to dominate the Democratic Party, that the party will become virtually unelectable, resigning the American people to Republican rule for years to come. There are many problems with this, but perhaps the biggest is this myth of Republican obstruction that the moderate left clings to as an absolution from failure.

It is quite true that the Democrats have had a severely limited amount of time to push through reforms since Obama first took office in 2009. In total, the party have only had four months with full, filibuster-proof control of Congress, and in that four months, they passed the “landmark” Affordable Care Act through the Senate, ensuring eventual passage of the law, arguably the Administration’s greatest achievement. Four months is a very limited amount of time, but what everyone fails to mention is that the Democrats could have occupied an ethical and progressive position in abolishing the filibuster, extending the total amount of time they had control to 2 years. What is also left absent from the smug responses of these moderates is that a multitude of Presidents have accomplished significant legislative achievements within a shorter period of time. The great liberal lion (and savior of capitalism) FDR, shoved nearly 15 pieces of legislation through Congress to deal with the horrors of the Great Depression in his first 100 days. He called these first efforts of the New Deal “bold experimentation,” efforts that gave Americans not only “hope,” but a tangible relief from suffering. When Americans were mired within the depths of the Great Recession of 2008, we saw nothing similar- only the passage of a lackluster healthcare law, watered down by the Democratic Party themselves. So much for moderation as a virtue, especially when it serves to obstruct our national progress and prevent the expansion of freedom to millions of Americans who still lack health insurance coverage.

If we want to win in the long term- and secure real freedom and real change for the American people, we need an uncompromisingly socialist movement which won’t succumb to the influence of corporate money, to the virtues of back-and-forth compromise. There can be no freedom without action- and it is precisely the inaction of members of both parties to properly deal with our problems that has aroused the anger of millions of Americans. If you want to win over the American people and earn their respect, demand stronger unions, demand workers’ control, demand an economy that works for all of us and not just the privileged and the rich. But please, don’t demand that we support a liar like Clinton or a party with no substance.

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcus January 2, 2016 at 8:08 pm

The ACA wasn’t passed until December 2009 in the Senate and March 2010 in the House. Did you mean the stimulus package?

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Carl Davidson January 3, 2016 at 6:50 am

This is bizarre…If any fear is driving people to Clinton, it’s fear of Trump, Cruz and crew, not Bernie.

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sartesian January 3, 2016 at 9:33 am

While it pains me to say so, I have to agree with Carl Davidson. I don’t think anyone is afraid of Benign Bernie.

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Jimmy Brash January 4, 2016 at 8:47 pm

Bernie is an afterthought for the media and the DP establishment. It’s been Hillary or Bust since the start of Obama’s second term. Nobody is scared of socialism because the establishment knows it’s not going to happen anytime for the foreseeable future. The folks that might be scared of it have no political or social clout.

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Freeurmindz January 19, 2016 at 11:30 am

Thanks god we have the affordable care act…..because now I am getting fined for not being able to afford healthcare. Are all you socialist that retarded to truth about anything?! It’s twice as expensive and now and now the upper lower class 20-30k people are getting fined for being even further away from having healthcare. I can’t give a quarter off my income to Insurance. That’s crazy! My brothers insurance doubled. My moms tripled until she canceled it. Now she’s without it. Thanks for the “progress.”

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