An educated response to founding-fathers dream

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By The Staff

In the Oct. 5 edition of the Perry County News, guest columnist Jim Adkins told of a dream he had one night.  I found it to be a very interesting tale that had a unique message.  

Dreaming of the founding fathers must have been exciting and apparently influenced Mr. Adkins very much. However, as a graduate and teacher of U.S. history and government, I found some inaccuracies about the dream.

First, let me begin by thanking Mr. Adkins for his military service to our country. I greatly appreciate all our military personnel and the work they do to keep our country and personal liberties safe. I am also thankful that Mr. Adkins wrote about his dream as this is a good forum to debate some key issues today.

With health-care reform on the agenda for Congress, the word socialism has been thrown around numerous times. As stated by Luis Ricardo Fraga on page 512 of "United States Government," "Socialism is an economic and political system in which the state controls most productive resources - factories, land, and so on.

"One of the key goals of socialism is to distribute a nation's wealth throughout society for the benefit of the majority of its citizens."

Yes our government does provide many social services, for example, Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, child care, etc, but that does not make us a pure socialist country. Rather, we are a democracy with socialistic traits.

Apparently, in Mr. Adkins' dream, the legendary Ben Franklin was quoted as saying, "Roosevelt and Johnson were bad enough but this new man and his minions are pure socialists, enemies of freedom."

This is a false statement. A pure socialist state is where the government controls nearly all property and means of production through the means of nationalization. Venezuela, led by Hugo Chavez, is a perfect example of a pure socialist state.

In case you have not watched the news lately, Chavez still hates the U.S. with a passion and has recently had negotiations with Iran. It would be very hard to believe that our president would lead us down a road to become buddies with Chavez.

Today, most socialist nations are usually democratic. Many European nations, like Great Britain, are democracies with strong socialist features. We can be categorized as one of these nations.

The one key socialist element missing in the United States, but found elsewhere in democracies with socialist traits, would be health care. The current plan in Congress is not one where the government will run the entire health-care system, unlike in some European countries.

There is no way that type of plan would pass because there are enough Republicans and conservative Democrats who would block its passage. To insinuate that Ben Franklin is worried that Barrack Obama is pushing our country toward pure socialism is crazy.

Yes, we have socialist features, but we will never become a true socialist country because too many Americans love capitalism and private property. Now if the president started to push a bill in Congress that would take away my home and right to property, then I would start to get worried.

The word socialism seems to strike fear in many Americans because they feel it means government will control everything in their lives.

This would be communism, the extreme form of socialism. A communist nation is ruled by an authoritarian leader and has no traces of capitalism, like North Korea. That will not happen in America. But the word socialism seems too radical for many Americans, because many do not truly know what it means.

This allows groups to publish messages with partial truths thus leading to scare tactics that delay or stop important legislation. For example, in Mr. Adkins' dream, Sam Adams said that they [Congress and the president] will take our guns away. That is nearly impossible to do.

The Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms and Congress cannot pass legislation outlawing guns. The reason is that a new amendment must be passed to cancel another amendment. As an example, the 21st Amendment negated the 18th.

We have had 10,000 amendments proposed in our nation's history. Only 33 of them have been sent to the states to be ratified and six failed to pass the states, thus leaving us with the current 27. Now, Congress can pass legislation prohibiting the use of some weapons, but they are not going to take all the guns away.

This is a classic scare tactic that has no validity. Currently Republicans are the ones pursuing this one, but Democrats are not immune to these tactics. They have had their fair share in history and this is one of the drawbacks of having political parties.

Lastly, people urging health-care reform are sometimes considered socialists, radicals, or wimps (according to Mr. Adkins' dream) by many Americans. The founding fathers mentioned in Mr. Adkins' article - Franklin, Washington and Adams - were considered radicals during their day. They created a constitutional government that did not exist anywhere else in the world. In a sense, they were liberals, because they were bucking the conservative trend of monarchy.

Had they not taken this bold liberal step, we might not be the country we are today. Now I am sure they would have their grievances about today's government, as I do, but let's remember they achieved a radical dream.

Will health-care reform benefit America? That is to be seen. But let's not condemn health-care reform because it is "socialist." If that is the case, then we need to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, education, welfare, etc., because these are socialist services that our government provides us.

Both parties need to stop scare tactics but they will not as it helps their cause, while affecting us. Our government derives its power from the people. It is up to us, individual Americans, to educate ourselves on the truths and let our representatives, Democrat and Republican, know where we stand on the issues.

Guillaume lives near Bristow.