Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: the formula for the American dream. This incredible dream is currently at risk due to the embrace of socialism in our country. Rather than laugh it off and make fun, we need to expose the ugly truths of socialism and why it can NEVER be America’s new slogan. Socialism is growing more and more popular with the left and is used as a tool by democratic politicians to win elections. We have seen this with the obvious cheerleader for “democratic socialism” (still socialism), Bernie Sanders, and now with another self-proclaimed socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, just beat Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) in the primary for District 14 in New York.
The fact that running on a socialist platform helped Ocasio-Cortez seal her primary win is outright horrifying. Her slogans echo the feel the bern montras: “medicare for all”, “federal job guarantee”, “tuition-free public universities and trade schools”, “forgive all college-debt”, etc. This message that you do not need to be responsible for yourself because the government will take care of you should be a scary thought, not a hopeful plea. For a country that was built on freedom, independence, and the people checking the government, we should be extremely concerned when people gush over the government having complete control of the means of production. It deeply worries me that people would rather depend on the government to live than to work hard and make the life they want in the greatest country in the world - America.
Ocasio-Cortez has said, “I believe that in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live.” Her answer? Socialism. There are many cheering because she won the primary in New York and this should be a huge wake up call. The New York TImes reports in a recent survey, “61% of Democrats between 18 and 34 view socialism positively”. There seems to be a trend in today’s society that is to demand for “free” things. This demand seems to stem mainly from young people who feel dangerously entitled. However, the millennials that voted for Bernie Sanders and think socialism is the way to go do not even comprehend the terms they use. According to the Emily Ekins, a research fellow and director of polling at the Cato Institute, millennials say they favor socialism but, actually tend to reject the definition: “Only 32 percent of millennials favor ‘an economy managed by the government’... as millennials age and begin to earn more, their socialist ideals seem to slip away”. In this poll, a whopping 68 percent of millenials were against the definition of socialism but are in favor of the word… that’s reassuring. There is a reason that Ocasio-Cortez could not explain the difference between socialism and “democratic socialism”; there is no difference and the proof is ugly.
There is an important place that the democratic socialists in America avoid talking about. It was once the richest country in Latin America with a promising future and it is now on the brink of collapse as a communist dictatorship. This place is Venezuela, where the vast starvation, massive food shortages, increase in crime, and extreme inflation are the devastating results of almost two decades of implementing socialism. Hugo Chavez, President from 1999 until his death in 2013, was a democratic socialist who promised the people of Venezuela a “Socialist Paradise” and blamed “evil” capitalists and corporations for stealing the wealth from the people. Sound familiar? Chavez’s government took over every industry while promising to the people of Venezuela that he would share these profits equally to everyone. He promised to step down after two years if the people were not happy. He promised free social programs for all and celebrities praised and endorsed his efforts. All broken promises.
Have you ever stood on a really long line at the supermarket? Imagine standing for hours and hours and hours on a line, knowing that when you get to the front, they may not even have what you need and you feel lucky if there is food in general. Well, millions of Venezuelans do, every single day at their government-regulated markets. These numbers have only gotten worse over time due to massive shortages on basic needs such as toilet paper, bread, and milk. There is also a limit on the amount of something you can buy. According to CNN in 2017, “You have to have [your] baby or birth certificate with you to [be allowed to] buy diapers.” That is, if there even are diapers to buy and there is a limit as well. This does not sound fair and equal for everyone.
People line up to buy food at a supermarket in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas (Business Insider).
There are Venezuelan kids that have been reported picking through garbage, desperate to find something eatable due to their hunger. According to the Catholic News Agency, an organization dedicated to helping Venezuelans, the starvation there caused 50,000 minors to die last year. They project that over 280,000 will starve to death in 2018. We can blame socialism for these terrible losses. It is not just the people who are suffering as socialism has come after the animals in Venezuela too. Take a moment and google starving animals in Venezuelan zoo. But, do not worry some of these animals are not starving anymore. This is because the starving Venezuelans broke into the zoo and ate them. Due to hyperinflation, people cannot afford to feed themselves let alone feed their pets that they love just like we love our pets in America. Although, some of these pets are not starving anymore and that is because Venezuelans have resorted to eating them.
This could very well happen in America where we have politicians that blame “evil” capitalism, “evil” corporations, and want everything to be a “free” social program so everyone can be “equal” just like Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela. My friend Jose, a Venezuelan native, had to flee his home and leave everything he had behind two years ago due to the “fair” and “equal” democratic socialism that Hugo Chavez started in 1999. Jose has shared with me that is is cheaper in Venezuela, to use money as toilet paper than to buy actual toilet paper. He states, “The most strong argument [against socialism] would be the lack of personal freedom. It is just depressing... Being the subject of what the corrupt government decides every single day of your life. I would never want to see that happen here, in the greatest country in the world.” These are the ugly truths of “democratic socialism” that Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Democratic Socialists of America do not want you to see. A “socialist paradise” is NOT worth your freedom.