Socialism’s Been Very Good to Me

by on July 1, 2019 · 9 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Socialism is such a scary word to so many people.

They fear socialism as an enemy of capitalism, depicting it, as I saw recently in a cartoon, as “taking money from one person’s pocket and putting it in another’s pocket.”

Come on, really? I know in our economic system the almighty dollar is treated like a king, but why is that a reason for looking at another set of principles with narrow minds?

I read a meme that said a “socialist is a person too stupid to know he’s a communist.” What the hell does that even mean? Aren’t the “Red Scare” days, so steeped in stupidity as they were, supposed to be gone and forgotten?

Well, I have to say that I have no certificates of achievement in what socialism is. But I do know that wherever it’s been in place, a basic tenet of it has, no matter how it actually is carried out, been about using taxpayer funds to benefit citizens collectively.

And there are numerous examples of our taxes in America doing just that.

Like the breathtaking coastal drive I love to take up Highway 1 and the upkeep of the Big Sur campground right off that scenic road, a place I’ve hiked and a place where I’ve written and read and kickbacked is all paid for by our taxes and the same can be said about “public libraries” where I can pick up a bestseller or two to get lost in.

Taxes paid for what little social security I’ve received, the street lights that have comforted me walking down scary streets on a moonless dark eve, the basketball scholarship that covered my college degree.

A while back I had a situation involving heat, medication, and dehydration and a 9-1-1 call alerted a nearby fire station and EMT’s quickly got me to the hospital where my insurance and Medicare took care of everything I needed.

The U.S. Postal Service used to make sure I got my tax returns. Opening the envelope was always a moment of glee – getting back what was owed to me.

My garbage and recyclables are picked up regularly. On our dime.

I’m a product of public schools and taught in public schools and utilized all kinds of funds that helped me make school fun and meet a range of students’ learning needs.

Those city lifeguards who keep us safe at our beaches and the city crews that clean and haul off all the shameful amounts of trash we leave. Our taxes, indeed.

The San Diego Zoo benefits from our property taxes as its housed in Balboa Park and what would we do without that magnificent park and the other city parks, parks where I’ve picnicked and hid and found easter eggs and where I’ve done guerilla theater and run 5k’s and 10k’s and celebrated birthdays and quinceaneras and weddings and memorials and holidays and played just about every kind of game there is to play…

And I can’t leave out PBS and NPR, public radio and public television services that have enriched my life for years, keeping me abreast of news and a range of stimulating ideas.

And have I ever enjoyed our National Monuments. One of my favorite views of the Pacific Ocean is from the monument created in Juan Cabrillo’s memory.

I once ran/walked up the stairs of the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument, and I remember visiting the first president’s birthplace, where I wondered why anyone would throw a silver dollar across a river and how could a man “never tell a lie.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve had my breath taken away in our National Parks: Great Smoky Mountains; Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest (in my home state) and Saguaro (in my hometown); Yosemite; Rocky Mountain; Yellowstone; Joshua Tree; Hawaii Volcanoes; Death Valley; Halekala; Sequoia; Denali; Redwood; Carlsbad Caverns…

So, hey, what can I say about socialism other than I’m up for more, if you please.

Democratic Socialists are trying to do just that, up the ante so to speak, advocating expanding health care for all and weakening the power of corporations so we, the working stiffs, can have more control over our workplace conditions.

They want to restructure gender and cultural relationships so that life can be more fair and impartial for people no matter who and how or what they are.

So, to me, it seems like socialism might be something we should look at critically and intelligently, in a spirit of having nothing to lose and a ton to gain in respect to bettering our country for all of its citizenry. All as in everybody.

That’s basic socialism if you ask me.

And it’s been very good to me.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page July 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Very well said, Ernie. I think you just scared the crap out of a lot of people who just realized all the dreaded socialism oozing around them.


stu July 1, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Socialism Ernie you mentioned a lot of socialist organizations (government backed) but you left our the biggest. The military, where you can get clothed, fed, buried, married and all your needs taken care of. If your born to military parents then your birth, schooling and living is taken care of by the Feds. If as a ilitary child you jind the military you could spend your whole life in a socialist system .
I am not saying socialism is the be all to end all but it certainly has its place in society people have to get over the Communist scare and realize what the trade off is to you personally.


Oldob July 2, 2019 at 11:57 am

Socialism is awesome…..if you yearn to be average, live an average lifestyle and a lifestyle that looks like everyone else’s. WooHoo…..let’s all get together to move everyone to the middle and eliminate most of if not all motivation to be exceptional as individuals.


Frank Gormlie July 2, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Hey, let me be the first to say it: you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. you live in the most anti-socialist country in the world; all you’ve known is anti-socialist propaganda from the establishment your entire life.


sealintheSelkirks July 6, 2019 at 11:20 am

Oh good for you, Frank! I don’t have to write about ignorance this week!



Danny July 7, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Socialism: Where the Workers OWN the means of production AND the Government that regulates it. Far “cry” from the illusion of it and the “long haul” for those of us who want a more just and verdant world. The question remains: “How do we get from here to there?” One question many answers! So what’s it gonna be kitty cats?


sealintheSelkirks July 7, 2019 at 11:19 pm

Ummmmm… the guillotine?



Stan Levin July 11, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Response to your detractors, Ernie …
Attributed to Bill Cosby, who is not the original declarant …
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. Bill Cosby


Geoff Page July 12, 2019 at 10:26 am

Herbert Bayard Swope > Quotes > Quotable Quote
Herbert Bayard Swope
“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”

? Herbert Bayard Swope

I don’t know if Cosby ever attributed the quote as he should have, knowing his character, I doubt it.

Herbert Bayard Swope Sr. (January 5, 1882 – June 20, 1958) was a U.S. editor, journalist and intimate of the Algonquin Round Table. Swope spent most of his career at the New York World. He was the first and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Reporting.


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