Poor Debbie Lesko! Some mean people wanted to keep the Republican congresswoman from Arizona from bringing her gun into the Capitol. She is outraged. We don’t know what kind of scene she makes at the airport, but in the Capitol, where she and her colleagues are routinely kettled for the convenience of armed mobs, she’s stamping her little feet. “We now live in Pelosi’s Communist America!” she tweeted thunderously. Yes, you can tweet thunderously.
Ah, that old chestnut! It brings me back. When I was a kid that’s what you called other kids on the playground if you wanted to rile ’em up. They were commies! Specifically, dirty commies. Just like Miss Debbie, we didn’t know what we meant by it. It was another word for asshole.
So Miss Debbie doesn’t really mean “Communist” when she complains about being detained at a metal detector. What she’s really hopped up about is governmental overreach. Authoritarians are the worst, unless they’re Russians or North Koreans or some other repressive, crushing regime that we kind of admire, right, Miss Debbie? Authoritarianism is awesome if God’s on your side.
“Communist” is just one of those big-basket words that scoops up many different people indiscriminately. It’s a broad brush. It’s like calling all Republicans “Nazis,” when a lot of them are just self-dealing assholes.
I like to keep an ear open for the language being used to perpetuate the plutocracy. It evolves. For four years now “socialist” has been the slur of choice, but now we’re hearing more about communists. Hardly anyone can define the terms, but that’s irrelevant. Every now and then you will hear someone elucidate what is so awful about being a socialist, and it usually comes down to “they want to take all your hard-earned money and give it to the lazy people.”
Sounds bad! But weirdly, they are fantasizing something entirely different from having all their hard-earned wages, pensions, and benefits taken and given to the indolent rich, which is what has actually happened over the last forty years. Someone should look into that.
In any case, I have a lot of commerce with the motley Left Wing and can report that very few of us consider ourselves socialists. There are a few socialists, and an anarchist/anti-capitalist contingent, but the vast bulk of us would align with Democratic Socialism, which aims to maintain a market system but strip it of its worst excesses and failures. A bit more like Eisenhower’s America, in other words, without all the racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia and…well, we’d like to polish things up a bit, and try to save the planet in the bargain. It’s not really scary at all. Make everyone’s lives a little better, without making the billionaires’ lives worse. Because above a certain income, you shouldn’t be able to notice how rich you are. You can drown your soul in a bathtub of money just as easily as in an ocean of it, after all.
There’s a lot not to like about our current economic system, in which profit for some is sacred and the true costs of it are paid by the rest of us. Let’s look at the results. Our planet may soon become uninhabitable. Extinctions are accelerating. Our resources have been stripped and turned into cash for the few. Legions of us are impoverished, homeless, sick. Entire populations all over the world are on the move for their very survival.
We would like to not be ruined by medical expenses. We would like to not be ruined by fossil fuel consumption. We would like clean water and a range of basic services. We would like to support small farmers. We would also like maybe some bullet trains, please.
“Communist America!” Poor Miss Debbie doesn’t mean anything by it, not really. She’s just using it as a phony label to instruct the masses who they’re supposed to hate. You fling that word out enough and it fails to mean anything at all–it’s just a stain in the brain that will hopefully remind you what Debbie wants you to do in the voting booth.
What she doesn’t want you to do is think.