I have this dilemma regarding how political I want to go; in the last week, I’ve been involved in a few really interesting conversations about democratic socialism starting with randomly telling the Girl about FDR and the WPA. Then I made a throwaway comment–a joke, really–on someone’s Facebook page, and a mutual friend who I think is actually a poly sci prof or something like that challenged me to define socialism.
Man, I was actually afraid. Who wants to get spanked online by a guy who’s probably 10 years their junior but way further ahead in his career? I almost just copied the entry from the giant OED in my desk. (Aw, hell, who I am kidding? I just love pulling that thing out of my desk. It weighs about 50 pounds and comes with this crazy hemisphere magnifying glass.) But then I thought about what the word meant to me and wrote something kind of thoughtful and intelligent that wasn’t exactly about what “socialism” means, but about what it means to individuals, what it could mean under certain circumstances. And more-successful-than me professor guy gave it a like.
Anyway, it could also be a comic. It would have been super cool to have it ready now, just in time to kick off caucus season (ug) but those serious comics take the most time to lay out and I was getting punched in the guy by my monthly dudebro and also The Man had to play a klezmer concert for a mock Jewish wedding at a Hebrew school north of here, and that sounded more interesting than not attending a klezmer concert for a mock Jewish wedding. Maybe I can do it tomorrow. Although I might have a tattoo consultation tomorrow.
So many comics to read and write!
Amusing anecdote about people who don’t understand socialism:
In 2002 or 2003 I was standing in this interminable line at the Walgreen’s pharmacy counter. I don’t even think I was getting my own medication; it seems to me that I was picking something up for a friend, and this line was WAY past the toothpaste and didn’t seem to be moving at all. And there was a guy in front of–old white guy wispy white hair and a fierce voice–and he had opinions. Lots and lots of opinions.
Well, complaints, really. His medications were so expensive. His doctors were so expensive. He was getting ripped off on all his pills. Everyone was profiting off his misery. It was just terrible, terrible, everything cost so much, medical care cost so much money. This dude was telling me (well, everyone in the vicinity, but I was the person behind him so I was the most trapped) about how much his healthcare cost for like 10 minutes.
Finally he took a breath for air and looked at me expectantly.
“That’s why we need socialized medicine,” I said.
“Well, YOU’RE a COMMUNIST,” he replied, disgusted, and mercifully turned his back on me and shut up.
People are unclear on the concept.