Wait for it — ah, yes. The president’s operatives have put out the directive to label every Democrat move with the S-word — “socialist.” With the 2018 Democrat House victory, the word falls trippingly off the RNC tongue. As Democrat candidates throw hats in the 2020 presidential ring, the opposition is bent on labeling each candidate’s idea as “socialist.” Not “progressive” or “democratic,” but “socialist,” hoping to trigger a time-worn reaction.

Conservatives used the smear against Theodore Roosevelt’s “Square Deal” for breaking up powerful, corrupt trusts and offering protective labor laws. It was wielded against Woodrow Wilson’s graduated income tax, designed so the super wealthy pay a proportional, fair share. And, big time, FDR’s efforts to pull the United States out of the Great Depression were broad-brushed as “socialist.” So once again, voters on the right are encouraged to repulse “socialist” concern for the environment, the right of every child to early education and consumer protection. They hope to “S-word” taint every plan for equitable health care and affordable college and technical re-training.   

Listen for the ultra-conservative strains of “socialist” to vilify ideas drawn from just concern for individual good growth and progress together. And yet, once hailed with the dastard “socialist” label, how many are eager to “turn the clock back” and bounce people off of Medicare and chuck their Social Security checks?

The concept behind “democratic government” purports that folk are equitably valued and that just pathways to betterment, dignity of endeavor, safe environment and equal political voice are unfettered by nefarious power and concentrated wealth. A thoughtful idea may just be an idea to thoughtfully consider and not one to besmirch with deleterious intent.

Cindy Whitman, Glens Falls

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