Who Hijacked Our Country

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The United Socialist States of America

We can’t deny it any longer. The America that we all grew up in — Deceased. Deader’n a doornail. Horatio Alger, Bootstraps, the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace — gone forever.

How did this happen? We were never invaded. No shots were ever fired. Those dreaded monolithic armies from the Soviet Union and Red China never conquered us. Instead, we mutated from within. We became soft.

And now, like it or not, we’ve turned into a nation of limpwristed government-dependent intellectual wine-sipping Eurosocialists. We’ve become — French! Noooooo!!!!!!

Or even worse — Canadians! All they do is lie around all day saying “aboot” and wallowing in their Socialized Medicine. Their moral fiber has been sapped and they’ve lost all incentive to work. And now we’re just like them.

For America’s self image, this is absolutely devastating — horrifying! — that we’ve softened up from within. It would’ve been far less insulting if we had been attacked by the Red Army, put up a gory fight to the finish — and gotten trounced. Better Dead Than Red and all that.

But this, this...[shudder]

It’s sort of like the difference between John Wayne getting in a bloody no-holds-barred fight and getting his ass kicked — versus John Wayne developing a sudden interest in Broadway show tunes, applying for a government grant and opening up a gift shop.

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess we have to rehash this again and again. All these Socialistic Ideas the rest of the world got- they got from us as we were among the first to have a 40 hour work week, Military Pensions, Rights to Organize etc., Only two things the rest of world built on and that was national health care and a true pension which presidents from Truman, Johnson and Nixon all tried to get and got beat back by the conservatives, who then have spent all of their energies since telling us we don't need unions nor all those working rights, and good old free market 401K's will beat a pension any day.

A Book called "Conscience of a Liberal" by Krugman says that the conservatives will do anything to beat back anything that looks like socialism regardless if it does (or has) worked, even the programs in the past, thus the steady dismantling of the New Deal.

Only Americans confuse and/or fuse the "S" word with the even more dreaded "C" (communism) word. They still want to take over and poison our minds and put us in re-education camps if only they could explain who the communist are these days.

All the communist I know are waiting for bailouts for selling those junk mortgages.


March 9, 2009 at 12:28 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I said, "Oh brother," when I saw Jon Meacham's byline.

I think that what we're seeing and hearing is a function of how conditioned people have been over the last 30 years. Things were pushed so far right for so long, any deviation toward center looks and feels to many as if Bolsheviks have taken control.

I'm sure that's especially so for people who've steeped themselves in Friedman economics, U.S. Chamber of Commerce/Heritage Foundation propaganda and the crud emanating from Fox Noise and Lamebug.

I note that Meacham and his co-writer made sure to include the obligatory right-friendly corporate media line about America still being a center-right country.

However, if this mess gets uglier and Obama and congressional Democrats efforts manage to get us out of it before 2012, I think most Americans won't care if we're all centrists, socialists or monkeys' uncles. They will just be relieved and maybe — I hope and pray — much less likely to elect conservative Republicans prepared as always to ream them again.

March 9, 2009 at 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

The thing (well, one of many) that really pisses me off is that Right-minded people (coworkers, etc) never sufficiently convince me why things like socialized medicine are bad. They say things like, "the government isn't our babysitter" and "we're not a welfare state," “we’re not an entitlement society,” and more of that kind of narrow-minded, Republican spew. But if you try to break the conversation down to the welfare of an individual human being, they falter in their argument.

It’s all about the hyperbole and the Republican herd mentality. Get ‘em away from that and they almost see the light, only they’re too stupid to remember it 15 minutes from then.

Fine bunch of Christians, the lot of them. I know what Jesus would do: he’d kick their asses for being selfish, materialistic hypocritical fucks.

March 9, 2009 at 3:12 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Considering that European countries seem to have a much more enjoyable lifestyle than the hectic, materialistic race for riches that America has become in recent decades, I am all for becoming more French!

And as Erik says, we have plenty of socialist policies already.

Great post.

March 9, 2009 at 5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing Krugman notes and on what Carlos said. Everytime someone suggest nationalized Health Care and the Socialized Medicine mantra goes around a number of legislators get calls that say:

"Keep the Government out of my Medicare!"


March 9, 2009 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: That's true. Those commie labor unions, that wimpy 40-hour work week -- we originated that. Then the Right came up with that scary mantra "Socialized Medicine!"

For some reason, nobody's afraid of socialized education, socialized mail delivery, socialized fire protection; or trillion-dollar handouts to large corporations.

SW: I don't think I had heard of that columnist before. I bookmarked that article a few weeks ago, figuring it would be good for a tongue-in-cheek post about "Socialism!"

I too hope Obama and Congress can get us out of this quagmire before 2012. The Far Right will never go away, but I'd like them to be dormant and marginalized, like they were from the late 1930s through the early '70s. They'll be back with a vengeance someday, but I hope that day is a long way off.

Carlos: That's too funny when people memorize slogans and talking points without even knowing what they're saying. I remember once in high school, these 2 guys were arguing about Lyndon Johnson. This one guy kept saying "he's a wheeler dealer." The other guy said "what do you mean?" The first guy repeated "he's a wheeler dealer," much more emphatically, with this underlying tone of "come on, figure it out." And the other guy said "you don't even know what that means, do you?" And all the first guy could do was squirm and keep repeating "he's a wheeler dealer."

Take away their slogans and talking points and they're like a turtle without a shell.

Mauigirl: Thanks. Yes, I'm all for becoming more French. The last time I was in Europe (Paris and London, 1992), they certainly seemed to have a better quality of life there. They're doing something right; we should try to learn from them instead of having this condescending attitude toward the rest of the world.

March 9, 2009 at 4:34 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Tom, an interesting article a few years back compared the typical work week and year in Europe with ours. Most Europeans get much more vacation and more sick days than Americans do. When shown comparisons, many Europeans look on Americans working two jobs, some working seven days a week, and think we're either too materialistic or are being exploited.

Europeans' system undoubtedly costs them some productivity. I'm glad for them that they're obviously smart enough to know that a good quality of life means working to live, not living to work. There should be a decent balance, and I get the impression they're doing better at finding that balance than Americans generally do.

March 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I'm with Mauigirl. To tell truth, I work my ass off every day, all day, put my kid in daycare I lay down nearly a grand a month on, and I'm tired. And we're not even close to rich, or even upper middle class. We drive a ford taurus station wagon that is 10 years old, for pete's sake. I'm wore out, I feel older than I am, and I want 6 weeks of mandatory vacay, and I want national, clean, safe daycare, and healthcare, and bullet trains so I can visit see Yellowstone cheap and easy, and I want to pay taxes to get it, because I think it would be a hell of a good tradeoff. I want to be French, too. Heck, I'll take Canadian. Maybe they'll let me be Canadian. I have some pretty good 'eh action, and I can learn to say aboot.

I have right-wing co-workers, too, and not a single one has given me a good argument against the above.

March 9, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

People were warned by those on the right that Obama was a socialist and they went ahead and voted for hi anyway! I guess that's what you would call democracy in action. I guess if neo-conservatism had worked they could have defeated socialism once and for all, but since all it succeeded in doing was enriching a small segment of the population while making things worse for the remaining ninety percent, all those poor rich bastards will have to deal with the rest of the population wanting something more than the crumbs they're willing to throw us.

March 9, 2009 at 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Carlos said...

For some reason, nobody's afraid of socialized education, socialized mail delivery, socialized fire protection; or trillion-dollar handouts to large corporations.


March 10, 2009 at 2:42 AM  
Blogger DB said...

Let's not forget the 10th plank of communism...free public education. Does that make us all communists? No. But it does show that there are elements of each system that work to make our system better. The socialist charge has become merely a political scare tactic and doesn't seem to have any basis in reality. I wonder if those right-wingers actually understand any of this.

March 10, 2009 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Plus they actually like hockey up in Canada. Murka can keep her cars going in ovals for three hours.

March 10, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Yup, longer vacations, shorter work week -- what's not to like. "Work to live, not live to work" is a much better approach.

Bee: I want all those things too. With the money we've already spent on Iraqmire and the Wall Street bailout, we could have a huge safety net for everybody and still have money left over. I think quality of life for everybody is a higher priority than a billion dollar lifestyle for a select few and crumbs for the rest of us. If that makes me a socialist, I plead guilty.

Lew: You're right. If the neocon agenda had worked, McSame and Palin would have gotten elected so they could continue all the great things Dumbya started.

Carlos: Thanks.

DB: Free education? Uh oh, then the commies have already gotten to us. Their evil mission is already accomplished. We're doomed :)

Randal: That's true, they're more into hockey than we are. Maybe they aren't such girlymen after all :)

March 10, 2009 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Given the choice between the two John Waynes, I like the latter one better.

Erik, good points. I think the conservatives who say those things about beating back "socialism" are only in it for the top 1% or 2% or so or wage-earners in America, and they couldn't give a hoot about the rest of us. They don't want to help anyone but themselves, and Krugman points this out very nicely in a number of ways in his book!

For how far things have moved to the right, I think we can thank, in part, the ending of the Fairness Doctrine and the introduction of radio programming (yes, it's programming!) like the Rush Limbaugh show and FOX "News", which espouse far-right views while pounding the myth of the "liberal media" into the collective consciousness of America.

WWJD? I think Carlos is right.

Re. the Europization of America, I say "Go for it, it's about time."

Bee, maybe I WILL become Canadian one of these days. My job skills (speech therapist) and those of my wife (registered nurse) might allow us to find jobs "up there". I don't think their national attitude is nearly as punitive as ours tends to be, anyway. Whenver I go there, the people just seem to be so much more relaxed...

As Lew suggests, Americans may not be dumb at all... it seems our country perceived that things have been in the failing stages, and that a more community-minded approach to problems may be in order. Let's see... community... commune... communism? Sorry, that's a RIGHT-wing way of looking at it: play with the word until you turn it into something "evil", "bad", "stripping us of our dignity", blah blah blah.

I have had enough of this rugged individualist frontier cowboy redneck pull-yourself-up sink-or-swim religion-addled country-and-western-fried CRAP the Republican party pushes.

"Community" is FINE with me.

March 10, 2009 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I like the "other" John Wayne better too. But his devoted fans probably would have had a mass coronary and/or lynched him if he ever "betrayed" them like that.

"I have had enough of this rugged individualist frontier cowboy redneck pull-yourself-up sink-or-swim religion-addled country-and-western-fried CRAP the Republican party pushes."

Amen to that.

March 10, 2009 at 6:13 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"Community" is FINE with me.

Hoboy, be prepared to wear the commie label. That's even worse than wearing the socialist label.

Seriously, Snave, amen to that, too. Great comment.

March 10, 2009 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Miss Kitty said...

Great post, as usual, Tom. Your use of satire kicks ass.

Question for you and WHOC readers: how do you deal with someone who says there's a liberal media? My current college freshmen, who've been raised on far-right tripe, insist that the media is/are liberal. What would you say to them to make a point that the media are only as liberal as the big corporations that own them?

I have a few comebacks, such as, "Did you know George W. Bush has had 37 traffic accidents? No? Well, so much for the 'liberal media.'" Or, "Did you know George W. Bush got an abortion while in college for his teenage girlfriend? No? Hmm, wonder why the 'liberal media' didn't mention that..."

March 11, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Miss Kitty: Thanks.

As far as how to respond to the "liberal media" mantra: your examples are as good as any. I usually just assume it's a talking point, to avoid having to actually discuss an issue. But if the person actually does believe that, or is asking, I think your examples are fine. Just mention a few unreported facts, like your two examples, and then say "hmmm, wonder why that liberal media never mentioned it." Plus, like you said, the "media" is owned by huge corporations that care more about the bottom line than anything.

PS: I didn't know those two facts that you mentioned. But I wouldn't doubt it. But I did know that Laura Bush killed somebody in a drunk driving accident when she was 17. And there's always been speculation that it was deliberate; there was some sort of rivalry or grudge between her and the girl she killed.

March 11, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

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