Many U.S. citizens have a fear of “socialism.” They equate it with communism and the slippery slope to government control of their lives.

For the record, there are many democratic nations, especially in Europe, that have more socialistic programs than this country. Socialism is not a form of government, but rather an approach to the way a society allocates resources.

Our country already has plenty of “socialistic” programs that we appreciate and benefit from. How many of us have elderly relatives who rely on Social Security to provide the basis of their retirement income? Could you or they pay for extended rest home care?

For that matter, how many of our parents could have paid the full cost of our 12 years of education as we went through school? Paying into a common fund allows us to receive the benefit of a needed service if you do or don’t have the resources. Even private insurance coverage relies on that principle. Once again you are looking at “socialistic” programs.

If all of us were born with totally equal health, stamina, intelligence and talent, born into a family of sufficient financial means and opportunity, I could buy the capitalistic notion that everyone ought to pay for and provide for their own needs. You know that’s not true.

That’s what socialism is all about — trying to build a society that provides for and protects its people, especially those who have the least chance to succeed. The preamble of the Constitution says government is to “promote the general welfare.” This is the type of socialism that helps us build roads, provide police and fire protection, design water and sewer systems, create parks, establish courts to settle disputes, and accomplish many more common necessities.

Socialistic programs are not meant to foster a dependent society. They are meant to provide a safety net for all of us. You are just as susceptible, whether rich or poor, of being economically “wiped out” by a financial or physical tragedy.

Let’s stop fearing legitimate and necessary social programs and move to create that “more perfect union” that our Constitution espouses. Socialism and socialistic programs are already positive forces in our society. We are a great and powerful nation, but we have areas where we can do better to bring about a secure living environment for all people.

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