As a former election judge in Austin during the 2000 General Election, I can state from my own observation that voters can be stupid. It was November. It was raining and the temperature was around 48-52. My poling place was an apartment complex office/club house. We had 200 people in the space wrapped around twice. It was taking over an hour to get people through the line. I locked the door at 7pm and announced to the room that the polls were closed and anyone outside the building was not allowed to vote. We got everyone voted and out by 8pm. About 8:30 a guy who I had seen leave the place came knocking on the door. I told him the polls were closed and he couldn’t vote. He said he went to another precinct and they wouldn’t let him vote. I said I was sorry about that but each location is by precinct and the polls closed at 7pm. He got pissed and started yammering about “rights” and threatened to call my superiors the next day. I said, “That’s fine,” and he left.
As I think about it, I might have been 7. It was the early 70s and I had been reading a Marvel comic featuring the Black Panther. Growing up, I was one of those kids who seemed, to me at the time, to get picked on and ganged up on a bit more than others in the neighborhood, and at school. I wanted to be strong and to make all the things in my life that were a pain disappear. I couldn’t see, as a 2nd grader, that growing up and graduating from the public school machinery would do more to that end than muscles, tech, and at the time, tights.
BP was a strong character. He was a bad ass. And given the bullshit I was going through as a minor, and the fact that there really isn’t a manual to growing up, I wanted to be him.
My mother was in the den watching TV. It was a school night. I walked in and said, “Mama, I’m going to be the Black Panther when I grow up.” She looked at me, shook her head, and said, “Oh no. You’re not going to be a black panther.”
To paraphrase the immortal words of the Captain in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, what we had here was a “failure to communicate.” Mom was talking about the Black Panther Party, which got it’s start right around the same time the character entered the Marvel universe. Politics and war, and most of the other adult goings-on were mostly a blur to me at the time. That childhood ignorance made my mom’s reaction confusing. No one batted an eye at me wanting to be on the Enterprise bridge, fly like Superman, spin webs, or drive the Batmobile. I don’t remember questioning her. It was a little kid’s fantasy. Eventually I grew out of it. It was much later, after I learned a little bit about the party that I understood what my mom was talking about.
According to Wikipedia, the comic book character predates the founding of the party by a few months during the latter half of 1966,
As the presidential election day approached in 2008 people were moaning about the evils of socialism, and that a vote for then Democratic candidate Barack Obama was selling out the country to socialists. There were many other things said back then, but I just want to hold the discussion to this word, because people’s biases are blinding them to their own socialist attitudes.
So eight years later Bernie Sanders, who over the years doesn’t seem to have changed his positions on how he feels the tax dollar should be spent, is yet another in a long line of “antichrists” leading the country into “socialism.” The thing is, we’re already there, and we have been for over a century.
People on the “Red Right” are just as socialist as the folks they’re busy demonizing, hissing at, and crossing themselves over. Those who identify as right wing, red state, conservative, Republican, or whatever other label you want to use also want to redistribute wealth, just not in the same way as someone like Sanders. They don’t mind a $1,000,000,000,000 in taxes here or there as long as it’s going to bomb countries they think are the baddies.
It’s one dollar. It can feed someone, fix something, or kill someone. The choice is in how it’s used, and it only stretches so far. If you want to see people fed, clothed, taught, roads and bridges built and repaired, vote that way. If you want to trample on the sovereignty of other nations, march more young people past roadside bombs that wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t been on an interventionist crusade, vote that way. Just know that it’s socialism, regardless of whether the taxes go to promote life or death.