This was a post from the Scioto County Republican Party Facebook group on February 13, 2020:
“A Gallup poll showed Democrats are most willing to support a socialist, with 76 percent saying they would vote for a candidate with that political ideology. Only 45 percent of Independents and 17 percent of Republicans said they would do the same.
“This is what liberal ideology in our schools has produced. We are one generation away from losing everything if this continues. Teach your children about the dangers of Socialism.”
Does this post make you wonder just what Republicans are saying about schools and their “promotion” of a “liberal ideology.” The doomsday scenario proposed by the party practically begs parents to oppose public education and deny the supposed “production” of its socialistic products – that is, our greatest resource, the youth of America.
The Republican Party of Scioto County is guilty of shamelessly arousing the feelings and enthusiasm of the multitude with fallacies like Argumentum ad Populum, stereotyping, slippery slope, and misleading statistics. Their emotional appeal to the public blames Democrats who would support Bernie Sanders for president of seeking to gain complete government ownership over the means of production. They employ political rhetoric to foster a vague claim that Sanders is leading us all to hell.
That same Gallup polling in 2018 found when asked to explain their understanding of the term "socialism," 23% of the public viewed socialism as “equality – equal standing for everybody, all equal in rights, equal in distribution” while only 17% of the public saw socialism as “government ownership or control, government ownership of utilities, everything controlled by the government, state control of business.” And, in fact, another 23% had “no opinion” at all about socialism. These are hardly numbers for alarm about a government takeover.
(Frank Newport. “The Meaning of 'Socialism' to Americans Today.”
Gallup Polling Matters. October 4, 2018.)
Polls show Americans today are most likely to define socialism as connoting equality for everyone, while others understand the term as meaning the provision of benefits and social services. Most Americans' understanding of the term “socialism” is what might be considered a more standard liberalism.
All of this leads to the next logical conclusion – when Americans – especially millennials – think of 'socialism,' they primarily think about Bernie Sanders, Western European democracies, income equality, and access to healthcare.
(Third Annual Report on US Attitudes Toward Socialism, 2018.)
Misconceptions about the precise meaning of Sander's "socialism" abound, with many Americans conflating the term with communism in nations such as Venezuela and Russia. Sander's policies are more in line with the type of socialism seen in Scandinavian countries, a political science professor noted in a Newsweek interview.
Dr. Eileen Hunt Botting, a professor of political science at Notre Dame University, told Newsweek that the ideology of communism means there would be "no private property, and no class distinctions." Botting explained that democratic socialism, conversely, does not do away with private property or all economic class distinctions. She said …
“Democratic socialism aims to use democratic government to promote a more fair and egalitarian distribution of social goods and opportunities among all people in a society.”
(Jason Lemon. “Bernie Sanders is a Democratic Socialist not a Communist,
Here's the Difference.” Newsweek. February 3, 2020.)
The truth? Yes, according to poll results from Gallup released February 11, 2020, just over three-quarters of Democratic voters said that they would vote to elect a socialist president. The poll, conducted between January 16 and 29, asked respondents whether they identified as Republican, Democrat or independent and questioned them about their willingness to vote for candidates with "diverse characteristics."
Let me say that again … “willingness to vote for those with diverse characteristics.”
Local Republicans have oversimplified, categorized, and demonized the results of the Gallup poll to spread fear that public education promotes socialism in some kind of a wacky conspiracy to take away democracy. This fear mongering is baseless and divisive – similar to many of the tactics used by a narcissistic leader who views every threat to his presidency as “Communistic” or “unconstitutional.”
According to these Republicans, American government is one generation away from destruction unless the “liberal ideology” is stopped … not to mention they clarify the meaning of “stopping” by turning teachers and students into partisan, mindless automatons of the State presumably by having them support Trump for president and electing Trump-supporting candidates in 2020.
I encourage people to see through this ruse and, instead, understand that Bernard Sanders is an American politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007. He is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.
Sanders is known for his opposition to economic inequality. On domestic policy, he broadly supports labor rights, and has supported universal and single-payer healthcare, paid parental leave, tuition-free tertiary education, and an ambitious Green New Deal to create jobs addressing climate change. On foreign policy, Sanders broadly supports reducing military spending, pursuing more diplomacy and international cooperation, and putting greater emphasis on labor rights and environmental concerns when negotiating international trade agreements.
Bernie Sanders is not a threat to destroy the country or to obliterate the government. He has beliefs that fall under what many call the label of “democratic socialist.” If you believe America desperately needs some aggressive action to cut the masses back in on the fruits of economic production, Bernie Sanders' democratic socialist vision is a good place to get started.
And, many Americans believe – the young, in particular – that Sanders' policies would make a big dent in income and wealth inequality – some very ugly side effects of Republican-supported capitalism in the 21st century. Yes, teach your children well: teach them not about groundless theories, but about critically thinking for themselves. I pray the youth of Scioto County continue to gain academic skills that support them as true independent citizens.
Here is an example of response to Scioto GOP's Facebook post on socialism (2/13/2020):
“This has been part of the Dem playbook half a century. Look at Sesame Street for example. There is little actual educational value in the program itself. It's main purpose seems to be brainwashing American youth into believing mediocrity is acceptable.
“It's OK to live on the projects for the rest of your life. It's OK to share and share and share some more, because it really isn't about community, it's about planting a subliminal seed to make you feel entitled to someone else's things, since communism mascaraing as socialism is the ultimate goal of the Dems. Of course they say that isn't the case, but considering all the action they've taken to disarm and devoice others, make no mistake, it's absolute, tyrannical, control they seek.”
“Sesame Street brainwashing” and “subliminal devoicing” … lions and tigers and bears, oh my.