Let’s see, now … democratic socialism or sedition?
Not the greatest of choices, but I have a pretty good idea of which I would choose, if they were my only two options. And they seem to be the options in front of us on this day, Tuesday, January 12, 2o21.
There are only eight days before Joe Biden assumes the presidential mantle. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot of time for much to happen. But anyone who lulls him- or herself into that line of thinking makes the serious mistake of underestimating the scheming talents of our current Commander in Chief. After all, who (except those in the tightest inside circle) could have come close to imagining that the Capitol of the United States of America could have come under such a vicious attack as it did last Wednesday? And, from what I understand, while it had been planned for a while prior to the actual attack, it wasn’t something that took all that long to put together.
Sedition is defined as “conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.” Democratic socialism is defined as “having a socialist economy in which the means of production are socially and collectively owned or controlled, alongside a democratic political system.” The reason many people fear democratic socialism is because “socialism” has become synonymous with “communism,” a perversion of what socialism should be in its untarnished form.
Sadly, put in the hands of flawed human beings, socialism is easily twisted in such a way that many suffer while a few benefit (of course, doesn’t that sound like democracy, too, if you think about it?). But, if it were ever possible to make socialism work the way it’s supposed to, then everyone would benefit.
The concept dates back to biblical times. Jesus’ followers are described in socialistic terms in Acts 4.32: “The community of believers was one in heart and mind. None of them would say, ‘This is mine!’ about any of their possessions, but held everything in common” (Common English Bible). In my opinion, that’s probably as close to experiencing heaven on earth as humanity has ever come in its pitiful existence. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if everyone – and it must be everyone – understood that nothing they possessed was actually owned by them, but was in their trust for the good of the community? That it would be required of them to pass along to another person whatever that other person needed? And that it could be done confidently because that other person would not be trying take advantage?
I know. I’m delusional. But I’m OK with that, since my delusions are delusions based on what I believe should be the goal of earth’s citizenry. The only reason there are people starving or living in poverty or at each other’s throats is because of an unwillingness to share based on distrust of “the other,” plain and simple. If the wellbeing of the less fortunate were seriously the concern of the more fortunate, and the more fortunate were willing to loosen their grasp on those fortunes, then poverty, hunger, war, and any other manifestation of lack we can think of would disappear.
When Rodney King first uttered those words after his beating in Los Angeles in the early 90’s, I thought, “How sweet. And how naïve.” King said, “People, I just want to say, can’t we all get along? Can’t we all get along?” Today, instead of relegating them to naiveté, I hear those words as the key to solving virtually every problem human beings experience.
If it were possible to exercise democratic socialism in its purest form – and, given humanity’s condition as being motivated by greed and evil, I highly doubt that it could happen – it could create that abundant life for every person on earth that Jesus wants us to have.
But, I know, I’m just fantasizing.