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COLUMN: ​Democratic socialism has worked before and can work again


What ever happened to love thy neighbor?

I’m not religious but there’s something I can respect about the Ten Commandments: Don’t kill, don’t cheat and help out one another. 

They’re decent ideals. Furthermore, they’re ideals that many people were taught from a young age, regardless of faith.

Sharing is caring. Take a stand lend a hand. I don’t even have enough fingers to list off all the adages we were taught in elementary school which reinforced taking care of your fellow classmate.

So why, when the time comes to helping out a mother on welfare or aiding a troubled college student paying their way through school, do we look the other way? Why do we act as though people of all social classes, races, sexes, religions or walks of life are born with the same amount of privileges and advantages? What’s so wrong with evening the metaphorical playing field?

Of all the money the federal government makes in taxes, about 17 percent of that goes towards financial aid and assistance. Most of that money goes right back into the military and other defense programs, about 25 percent. And we’re not even getting into national budget spending, which is a whole different can of worms which the military takes priority of as well.

Under a Democratic-Socialist society, more of that money would go towards helping the needy. I understand the necessity of maintaining a military as a world superpower, but I would much rather that money help someone buy groceries or new clothes. In 2015 Russia, the second biggest military in the world, spent $76.6 billion on defense. The U.S. spent $598.5 billion. Russia's spending isn't even a drop in the bucket.

So wouldn't it make sense to focus a good deal of those funds back home, to help those people our military is fighting to protect?

We’ve had democratic-socialist practices implemented in America on a large scale political playing field before. It saved this country during one of the worst times in its history.

Though Franklin Delano Roosevelt identified as a Democrat, he implemented many socialist policies during his New Deal Programs. These not only helped to revitalize the nation, but almost completely pull us out of the Great Depression. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Civil Works Administration, etc.  — all of these programs and more were kickstarted by FDR with the mindset to help the poor and give them the opportunity to make a living for themselves.

We need to stop treating democratic-socialism as if it’s some sort of Bloody Mary wives tale — that if we say the ideology three times in the dead of night with a burning candle the mirror, Karl Marx will rise from the grave and single-handedly crash capitalism.

Don’t read this as an endorsement for Bernie Sanders. I’m still researching candidates and trying to make up my own opinion as to whose line of thinking and past actions represent my best. 

If anything, this is an endorsement for the idea that democratic-socialism has worked in this country and could work again if need be. Americans just need to stop treating the concept like it’s a political leper.

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About Jordyn Hermani

Troy senior Jordyn Hermani, Editor-in-Chief of Central Michigan Life, is a double major ...

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