I saw an ad for the Trump campaign while watching TV over the weekend. The ad featured what looked, to me, to be an intentionally diverse group of people speaking more about the “terror” of a Joe Biden presidency rather than saying anything good about Don Trump.
All these people seemed pretty scared. Of course, all GOP politics seem to be motivated by fear these days.
There are a slew of things to be afraid of, according to the ad. One of the most prominent was that “Uncle Joe” would make the U.S. a socialist nation. The first thought that crossed my mind was that these people probably don’t even know what socialism is. I’m also not sure what they think it is.
I remember when Barack Obama was running; the GOP stoked fears that he would come and take your guns.
He didn’t. He had eight years to do it, and he didn’t.
I looked up a Gallop poll from 2018. It asked 1,035 Americans across all 50 states about their understanding of socialism. Only 17 percent could identify it as the government owning the means of production. That is about as far as you can get from what we have in the United States, and I can’t really recall anyone from either party advocating that — at least, not anyone who has had an actual chance of being elected.
There was a tie for the top answer to the question of “What is socialism?” One of the top two answers was, “I don’t know.”
This brings me back to the commercial.
I didn’t get the feeling from watching this ad for Trump that the cast of the commercial had the slightest notion of what socialism is.
But they were by God, afraid of it. And they are positive Joe Biden is going to turn this country to socialism if elected.
The other answer tied the top spot in the Gallop poll was probably what really terrifies Republican voters: Nearly a quarter of those polled said socialism is “equality” — equal standing for everyone, equal rights, equal distribution.
Yeah, I can see why they fear that so much. They have theirs, and they’ll be damned if any of the riffraff below them on the social and economic ladder is going to get even the toniest bite out of their slice of the American Dream pie!
Why is equality so scary to so many people?
Remember the years leading up to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality? Remember the hand-wringing that went on? “If they let same-sex couples marry, what will be next?! People marrying their dogs or horses?!” Remember all the ranting about how permitting same-sex marriage would to destroy “traditional marriage”? (What is traditional marriage, anyway? And no, same-sex marriage didn’t destroy it, whatever it is.)
Katie and I just celebrated our second wedding anniversary, and I’m not aware of our marriage having had any negative effect on anyone else getting married. All of that fear was unfounded. It was just noise.
The same goes for the hyped-up fears of socialism. It’s nothing but a dog-whistle used to rile up Republican voters — to scare them — even when they don’t really have a grasp of what it is.
In fairness, the same could be said about the left using the term “fascism.” It’s just a word used to strike fear in Democratic voters.
Let’s not do that.
The world has seen real fascism, and Trump ain’t it. Fascism is characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, and Trump has not managed that — not that he hasn’t tried.
The third-most common answer to the question of what socialism is was “benefits and services, social services, free medicine for all.”
Wow, yeah. I can sure see why that would scare someone. That would be terrible if we provided healthcare to everyone and offered social services to those who are most vulnerable. Scary stuff indeed.
Personally, I don’t believe in all the name calling and finger pointing. It’s childish, undignified and lazy. I’m not a socialist, I don’t believe in economic planning by the government or government owning the means of production. (It doesn’t work, for one reason. Read The Road To Serfdom by F.A. Hayek.)
But there is nothing wrong with having compassion for those who need a little help and nothing wrong with leveling the playing field a bit by passing the Equality Act.
While I’m not a socialist, I’m definitely not impartial. I believe Donald Trump is dangerous and unfit. I question his motives, and I don’t trust him. He has become disconnected from the truth, and he is a terrible example for children.
Not only do I hope he loses in November, I hope he loses by an historic margin.
As a voter, I really wish the name calling would stop. Don’t tell me what your opponent thinks; tell me what you think. But if you insist on name calling, maybe use words your voters actually know the meaning of.
But more than anything else right now, I hope you vote. Vote all the way down the ballot. It matters. School board matters. Judges matter. Texas House matters.
It all matters.
Please vote like your life depends on it because it just might.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in the DFW area. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.