Tag Archives: socialism

Dear Jack Nicklaus

I saw your recently published “letter” about your having voted for Donald Trump’s re-election. For the benefit of my readers who missed it, this is the document:

[Click on the red square if you want to read all of it]

Your embracing Trump appears to be based on a set of nine specific ideas. Those are :

  1. His “resolve and determination to do the right thing,”
  2. He “delivered on his promises,”
  3. He “worked for the average person” & “tried to help people from all walks of life – equally,”
  4. He “has been more diverse than any President” you have seen,
  5. He is committed to “strong family values,”
  6. His policies will bring the “American dream” to “many families … who are still trying to achieve it,”
  7. We should “look past “ the “way our President says or tweets some things” and focus on “what he has tried to accomplish,”
  8. He “has put…his country first,”
  9. We don’t want to “evolve into a socialist America and have the government run your life.”

These observations about your letter remind us of Trump’s talking points that usually have little to do with reality and often are simply lies. That said, since you’ve already voted for Trump, there is no hope of changing your mind. Nevertheless, the nature of your statements cries out for response, and this is mine. In writing this, I’m assuming that, unlike many Trump endorsements, this one did not come from a golf-course conversation in which Trump offered to trade his endorsement of you as the greatest golfer of all time in exchange for your endorsement of him as the greatest president you have ever seen.

I believe the last item on the list (last because it was the last expression in your letter) is the truest explanation for all that preceded it. You think, somehow, that election of Joe Biden will lead America to fall into a “socialist” chasm in which the government will “run your life.” Trump’s re-election, on the other hand, you believe will promote something called the “American dream.” Nowhere do you explain “socialism” or the “American dream.”

That’s concerning because throughout your long life, you were able, admittedly through considerable skill and discipline, to make a fortune playing golf for a living. You also designed golf courses, gave product endorsements and engaged in other commercial activities largely related to golf. And you’ve done some charitable work.

Good for you. But during that period of 80 years, the United States had seven Democratic presidents and seven Republican presidents (counting Trump as a Republican). One Democrat (Kennedy) was assassinated and one Republican (Nixon) resigned in disgrace. And here we are, with the ‘American dream’ intact (at least for the same people for whom it was a realistic goal during your career) and no “socialism” by which the government is running your, or anyone else’s, life.

I’ll offer a serviceable definition of the “American dream” as the opportunity to grow up safely, get at least a middling education, pursue a lawful career of your choice and be paid at least reasonable pay for your labors, the chance to advance in your career free of racial/sexual/ethnic/religious discrimination, share the risk of getting sick or injured by having access to affordable health insurance and medical care, the chance to grow old and receive back the money you paid the government for retirement, the chance to invest your earnings in excess of current needs in safe markets and related elements.

People like you who have not been subject to racial or other structural discrimination throughout life have plenty of chances to “live the American dream.” You seem, however, as unaware and uninterested as Donald Trump in the millions of Americans who have not been so blessed. These are our Black, Latino and other ethnic populations who struggle to make ends meet with two and sometimes three jobs, people who were denied equal opportunity throughout their lives, who did not get a fair start and a straight course to run.

You seem to be willfully ignorant of American history in this respect, much like the man you appear to idolize. Your use of the phrase “who are still trying to achieve it” suggests that meaningful numbers of Americans have given up on the American dream as a goal. That may be true, but Trump has done nothing to encourage them to resume the quest. Instead, he demonizes minorities and “others” with travel bans, praising Neo-Nazis as “very fine people” while claiming that adherents of Black Lives Matter are going to rape, pillage and destroy the lily-white suburbs. He promotes preposterous conspiracy theories while openly praising dictators around the world. He denies science, regularly uses racist tropes in speech, encourages violence and openly threatens to reject the fundamental principles on which the American democratic republic is based.

You claim Trump wants to do the “right thing” but fail to say what the “right thing” is.  Do you mean the forced separation of children at the southern border, with now more than 545 of them orphaned because the government lost track of their parents? You say he delivered on his promises but don’t identify which promises those are. For sure, Mexico is not paying for Trump’s wall. For sure, since he’s reversed most of the climate advances and environmental protections adopted before his terms, you can’t mean he’s made the air and water safer.

You say Trump has worked for all people equally but, just looking at the pandemic alone, the impact has been disproportionately high on Black and other minority populations and Trump downplays it, saying it’s over even as cases and death surge around the country. You praise his “diversity” in the same histrionic terms he uses, but ignore the composition of his cabinet and the overwhelming majority of his appointments.

Mr. Nicklaus, you claim Trump adheres to “strong family values,” and that we should just ignore his vile insults and personal vilification of everyone he believes is opposed to his agenda. You  seem quite content to overlook his sordid personal life, including buddying up with Jeffrey Epstein and the huge number of sexual assault allegations made against him  (he still refuses to produce DNA samples that could establish his innocence, if he is in fact innocent). What “family values,” exactly, are you referring to?

You also maintain Trump puts his country first. This must be a reference to his “America First” theme that led to tariffs undermining American farmers, phony claims of bringing jobs back to the United States. But did you also consider how Trump’s refusal to separate from his businesses (despite promises to do so) have resulted in his personal/family enrichment from foreign interests, how his refusal to disclose his tax returns (promises kept? Really?) has enabled him to avoid scrutiny of conflicts of interest? Apparently not.

The list of abuses goes on and on. Yet, you call on Americans to overlook everything Trump says, everything he does, everything he stands for so that … what … we can prevent the transformation of the United States into a socialist dystopia?

Here are some thoughts penned by someone else n Facebook that perhaps you should have considered before voting for the most corrupt, ignorant and incompetent president in American history:

A Day in the Life of Sue Republican

Sue gets up at 6 a.m. and fills her coffeepot with water to prepare her morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With her first swallow of coffee, she takes her daily medication. Her medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of her medications are paid for by her employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance – now Sue gets it too.

She prepares her morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Sue’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the shower, Sue reaches for her shampoo. Her bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for her right to know what she was putting on her body and how much it contained.

Sue dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air she breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

She walks to the subway station for her government-subsidized ride to work. It saves her considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Sue begins her work day. She has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Sue’s employer pays these standards because Sue’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Sue is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, she’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think she should lose her home because of her temporary misfortune.

It’s noon and Sue needs to make a bank deposit so she can pay some bills. Sue’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Sue’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Sue has to pay her Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and her below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Sue and the government would be better off if she was educated and earned more money over her lifetime.

Sue is home from work. She plans to visit her father this evening at his farm home in the country. She gets in her car for the drive. Her car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

She arrives at her childhood home. Her generation was the third to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

She is happy to see her father, who is now retired. Her father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Sue wouldn’t have to.

Sue gets back in her car for the ride home and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Sue enjoys throughout her day. Sue agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m self-made and believe everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

——–

Mr. Nicklaus, you are a serious disappointment. I understand why someone like you would be a Republican, but Donald Trump is no Republican and certainly not a conservative. You have voted for a monster. Shame on you.

So, in closing, I also want you to know that I always liked Arnold Palmer more than you.

 

 

Democrats, & Everyone Else, Should Calm Down About Ocasio-Cortez’s “Socialism”

The Republicans, of course, will not calm down about “socialism.” They will see it as the end of life itself, an evil so devious and pestilent that they dare not be alone in a room with it. Since her surprise, upset victory in the New York Democratic primaries, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who herself seemed shocked at the election result, has been making the rounds of TV and other interviews. Journalists, real and cable phonies, have been trying to figure out what she believes and, at least on the Republican side of the ledger, trying to make her look bad.

Ocasio-Cortez has indeed made some gaffes in a few interviews mistaking the total military budget figure for the increase in military funding. Judging by the reaction on the right, you would think she was the first political figure to do this and that the mistakes were likely to disturb Earth’s orbit with their gravity.

There is a pattern in these attacks. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/us/politics/women-harassment-elections.html And Ocasio-Cortez is not the only target. https://nyti.ms/2MPLz26 There appears to be a deep-seated and widespread fear among some men that women are, once again, stepping out of line by engaging in actions these bozos believe should be an entitlement reserved for men. This is partly a failure among men to understand biology and evolution. The rest is probably cultural. In any case, candidates like Ocasio-Cortez are not intimidated and may even be stimulated to more aggressive role seeking as a result of the attacks. https://bit.ly/2wMzoZZ

Whatever the root causes for such antediluvian attitudes, they will almost certainly fail to restore the male sense of entitled dominance. If manly status depends on subordination of females rather than earned merit, it is bound to lose the competition in the long run.

The hysteria about Ocasio-Cortez also reflects a basic failure to understand how Washington works. It is easy to adopt cute words and phrases like “drain the swamp” and to use “bureaucrat” with negative connotation. And, of course, Ocasio-Cortez is a “socialist!” OMG, a socialist in our midst. Run for your lives.

No doubt, Ocasio-Cortez’ agenda contains some “radical” ideas. But, so what? She’s not advocating the violent overthrow of the government. And, this being my main point, no one in the Washington power structure can be effective with any agenda without the active collaboration/cooperation/acceptance of many others. That lesson is one that Donald Trump has an impossible time learning and it explains in part why he has failed to achieve almost all of his “agenda.”

Ocasio-Cortez most likely already understands the challenges of promoting legislation at the “edge” of accepted practice. In addition to being female and non-white, both among the reasons for the backlash, she is intelligent and articulate. Harboring illusions about the ease of promoting edgy ideas like health care for everyone seems at odds with her when viewed as a complete person.

Finally, if her ideas are so crazy, disruptive, unthinkably insane, unworkable, why are so many people afraid they will gain traction? Glenn Beck, who, amazingly, seems to still have credibility with some people, called Ocasio-Cortez’s political ideas “diet Communism.” https://bit.ly/2LLiZiC If so, she is doing nothing to conceal them, so the fear of the “enemy within” is more than a little exaggerated. If people like Beck really do, as they claim, believe in democracy, they should be willing to abide the presence of “socialism” in the marketplace of ideas and let the people decide how much of it they want.

A couple of thoughtful articles that are worth reading about socialism in 2018 are “The New Socialist” by Corey Robin, professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, https://nyti.ms/2o9KnIK; “The Millennial Socialists Are Coming,” by Michelle Goldberg, https://nyti.ms/2tU4ey7; and “It’s not just New Deal liberalism,” by Meagan Day, https://bit.ly/2LLiZiC

Rather than closing our minds in fear of “socialism,” we should be open to new ideas about the role of government, the role of the people and the ways our system of government might be improved for all the people rather than just the entitled few at the top of the social/economic tower.