God save us from becoming a socialist nation, as the conservative lament goes. Three words come to mind: get over it. We are a socialist nation. We have been for quite some time. So if you are concerned about becoming a socialist, catch up. Saying that we might become a socialist nation is close to yelling “close the gates, the horses have escaped.”
Consider U.S. socialism a consequence of what began in the FDR administration. Every administration since has had to protect those government agencies, such as Social Security and the IRS (as it became under the Revenue Act of 1942. The Johnson Administration gave us Medicare and Medicaid and a tax hike to pay for the men, money, and machines being used in Indochina. Every administration since has recognized and protected the government’s ability to build more bureaucracy and deliver cradle-to-grave government programs. Add Obamacare, and the current administration continues bureaucracy building.
Arguments about socialism provide great fodder for bitching and griping, especially on cable television news. Spew the Pew poll, take a side; woe unto us should we become a socialist country not as good as we are. The United States of America is a highly productive socialist nation founded on the principle of money and not the principle of monarchy. But wait a minute. Socialist democracies are characterized by parliamentary governments with multiple political parties instead of only two.
There is no mention of political parties in the Constitution.
Changing the government to a parliamentary system cannot be done. The Founders pretty much locked out that idea with their state-ratified Constitution. Beyond the need to write an entirely new Constitution, adopting and adapting to a parliamentary government would require having a Prime Minister and an entirely different kind of elected President, if a President at all. The chief executive would necessarily control a majority vote of the majority of parties in order to stay in power. Plus, there has and always will be a coterie who actually likes the idea of monarchy, titles, nobility, and classes.
Confusion describes today’s self-proclaimed conservatives. The political party system that we inherited is the government system upon which our nationalhood depends. Schisms and the clamoring for money have burdened the GOP, as 2012 demonstrated. The politics relies on two parties that stand for something different from one another on any issue that bothers patrons enough to shell out cash.
My grandfather, born in 1900, said, “When the country wants things, they elect Democrats. When they want the books balanced, they elect Republicans.” If one substitutes the words Conservative for Republican and Liberal for Democrats, what he said makes sense.
His generation managed through a worldwide Depression and a Second World War to bring government to where it is today. The Republican and the Democratic parties have suffered internal kerfuffles of their own, as well as the appearance of an occasional third party. The Republican Party split, allowing Democrats to take the White House, for example, with the election of Woodrow Wilson.
It is time to rebrand. The Elephant and the Donkey have had their run and need to be retired. We deserve a Conservative Party and a Liberal Party, each allowing new diversity and participation. It would also allow for Independents to actually have a party, if they wanted one. The rut the country is in could be averted by embracing values instead of videos. The 21st century is underway, so 19th century images and words no longer apply. Rather than fearing socialism, we are better served by accepting the reality, by embracing it for what it can do and making it peculiarly American. We have a successful cultural habit of making things American.