Democratic Socialism and Me

I began to come of age politically in the late 60s. My teenage idealism led me down the rebellious, anti-war path straight into the proverbial arms of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. How I dreamed of running off to join their antiwar protests in Montreal and Toronto!

Then I settled down to the business of growing up and finding a job, then settling down to start a family. Decades later, 1992 to be exact, I fell hard for Bill Clinton’s policies and prosthelytized to anyone who’d listen for half a second. Never mind his personal failings, I said. I’m electing a president, not a husband!

Bush 43 did his very best to kill my idealism and almost succeeded. Along came Obama, and the flame flickered again, hesitantly. Something told me his election was too good to be true. Eight years of arrogance and gridlock proved me right.

Then along comes Bernie. Democratic Socialism, hmmm. What’s that? The economy and the government should be run by the people, for the people? No more billionaires buying influence? Employee empowerment? I like the sound of that! A dream come true for the idealistic teenager that still lives inside me. The one who wore a black armband over the left sleeve of her Catholic school uniform to protest the Vietnam War. The one who believes that everyone should have access to the health care they need and an education necessary to build a life for themselves.

Yes, I know this system isn’t perfect. I did say that I’m idealistic. There’s a lot of arguing and compromise ahead if it has any chance at success. But we can make it work. Isn’t compromise what Congress did back in the days when grownups ran the country? We could blend the best of all our philosophies into a new form of democratic socialism that reflects our uniqueness. I did say that I’m idealistic.

Lest we forget: “We’ve all come to look for America …”

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