Before I start with today’s blog. An update to my post, Language Matters. Pat McCrory lost his re-election bid. North Carolina is a super majority Republican state. He has challenged the vote to the Republican controlled country election boards after refusing to concede. Many have rejected his demands. His hoping to string this out till the legislator is force to select the Governorship. I wonder if the Democrat that the voters voted for will be selected?
Neither party represents what I believe the American ideals stand for. The majority of citizens are so busy trying to survive, they don’t have time to think about what America was founded on. Can’t blame them. Education has been under attack since Reagan. The focus on test scores as driven the Arts, Votech and civics from schools. What is taught of the 238 years of US history comes from textbooks approved by the Texas School Book Commission. On which the Radical Right has been attacking the free thinking flawed men that wrote the sublimely flexible documents on which our nation was founded. Men of the small leisure landed and slave owning class that reached for unobtainable ideals with feet mired the mud of real politics.
This divisive election between a demagogue and the out of touch incumbent in all but name has focused my political bent. I identify has a Democratic Socialist. The only problem with this is finding a modern set of guiding principals for the political movement. Bernie Sanders voiced a message stuck an unmet desire in the under 30 population. Income Inequality. Student debt. Influence of Elite and corporate dark money in politics. His average donation was $27. His opponents had multi-million dollar PACs. What did he do with the left over cash? Funded a Progressive organization to support others progressives running for office.
A major issue with the Democratic Socialist movement is it keeps reaching back to classic Marxist Socialism. The Cold War propaganda was active for close to fifty years. Anti Communist sentiment started much earlier. The Russian Revolution literature was exported to be used has a driving force to organize the union movement. Hard core Socialist went to Coal country. Mother Jones was a force to be feared by the mine owners. Violence was common. Armed thugs battled with striking miners. In one such incident the National Guard was mobilized to end five days of battles. Where many were killed. Coal was the life blood of the Industrial Age in America. Who was painted with the broad brush of anti capitalism radicals? Socialist. Communists. Unions. A theme that is still alive today.
A picture is worth 10,000 words. They have deep emotional impact in our primary visual sensory world. Why is the message of America’s decline as manufacturing power so easy to sell? Empty parking lots once filled with the cars and trucks of the workers streaming into the gaping maw of the dark dirty plants. Stock photos from the Golden Generation are easy to use in every story. A romantic view of the Middle Class. The reality is 1 robot has replaced 25 workers. Each new advancement makes the equipment more efficient. Workers made $25.00 an hour when all the benefits and pension cost are added in. A robotic machine works for $8.00 an hour. Doesn’t complain or calls in. Robots also don’t need supervisors. A small handful of technology trained CNC operators along with the modern skilled trades work the shifts now. American manufacturing still outproduces every other country combined. This alternate reality is so deeply embedded in the American psyche it easy to exploit.
Classic Socialism was in response to the archaic concept of the Divine Right of the Ruling Class. They were above the law. A system rife with corruption that left the common worker and their families mired has second class without recourse to any of the institutions. That anger found a outlet through the master orator Karl Marx. Come met the new boss. Same has the old boss. The Democratic Socialism of modern European democracies are center left. Some more left than others. All countries that adopted capitalist economies have centuries of village, city and regional history reflected in how political parties define themselves. The Founding Fathers were worried that once political identity took hold that democracy would be challenged by through the party system. The Electoral College is a compromise to cushion that.
The idea of socialism is hidden in plain sight. Social Security. Farm Coops and corp insurance. Medicaid and Medicare. My search for the over arching modern philosophy of what being a Democratic Socialist means has become my passion. Will I be able to help in this? Hopefully. Not a bad legacy for someone that had no focus for most of his life. Reaching for something elusive while my feet are mired knee deep in the mud.