Recent Letters to the Editor have brought some disturbing aspects of this election year to light, namely, the troubling lack of knowledge concerning history, political issues, and ideologies and without regard for the facts.
When someone suggests that the leader of a country is not responsible for how the pandemic was handled, that is troubling to say the least. If a leader is not responsible for leading, who is? If people had been told to wear masks from the moment the administration was informed about coronavirus, lives would have been saved. The over 210,000 preventable deaths of Americans due to COVID-19 should be on Trump’s conscience, but he didn’t want anyone to panic, because there wasn’t a way for him to break the news without making people panic, which they did anyway, just a few months later when the virus was already spreading all over the country.
As for Socialism and Communism, it seems clear that many Americans have no idea what those things are, thanks to huge gaps in education because schools are chronically underfunded and Red Scares led to the suppression of American history, especially concerning the Labor Movement. What everyone learned was so simplistic it doesn’t even scratch the surface of any ideology. Many learned to parrot what biased teachers and family members told them and their understanding was cemented in black and white ideas about the Greek Civil War. There are so many different forms of socialism that it would take several books to explain, but people should be aware that the programs many take for granted, social security, unemployment benefits, disability checks, were called socialism by critics, those who opposed the New Deal programs that put America back to work during the Great Depression. Critics, mostly traditional Republicans, will say that whenever the government helps you out, that’s socialism. And by the way, the check that was sent to help out during the pandemic would also be considered socialism, which was your own tax money sent back to you anyway from the IRS.
Even those with the most cursory understanding of Communism know that the idea and the practice are two very different things. If you judge all ideas and theories by how they play out in a real world setting you might want to rethink capitalism, because free market capitalism would never allow for any of the checks the government sends out to people. Real free-market capitalism is all about sink or swim and you’re on your own if you fail. If you lose an arm on the job in a factory, you’re fired and you get no disability check. And while poor countries with corrupt leaders often have children begging in the streets, sanctions and capitalism also lead to children begging in the streets. And American capitalism hasn’t solved homelessness of all ages here, either.
There is also a lack of knowledge about what antifa stands for as well, and nobody bothers to look it up. First of all, it’s short for anti-fascists. Yes, like what the Greatest Generation was doing when they fought against fascism and Hitler and Mussolini. Were people doing well under the fascists? Because it seems like World War II should give a clue as to why people would oppose living under an oppressive regime. Fascism is far-right authoritarianism, ultranationalist, and characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy. Is a police state the type of government the Founding Fathers were thinking of when they established the USA?
It should also be noted that several analyses, reports, and studies have concluded that antifa is not a domestic or major terrorism risk, while far-right extremism and white supremacy are ranked as the top risks. The FBI has repeatedly said so. The far-right and white supremacists have killed hundreds of people in the last 25-year period mentioned in the studies. The far-left groups in that same 25 years killed: zero.
Also, concerning abortion, a medical procedure some find so repugnant they can’t call it by its name, maybe people should try to solve the societal problems that lead to it, namely the lack of education, spirituality, and morals in this materialistic world we live in, and not prohibit it, which only leads to illegal abortions and more deaths. The prohibition of alcohol allowed organized crime to flourish and did nothing to stop people from drinking, if anything it made drinking even more dangerous.
Investing in education and training for the jobs of the future, giving everyone an equal chance to work hard and succeed in life, not crushing the middle class while giving tax breaks to the rich and to corporations, would probably make more sense these days than continuing the hatred and fear-mongering. With a democratically elected government, the people have a choice, with far-right fascist dictators, there is no choice.
So when someone accuses Democrats of being un-American, it is truly ridiculous because the whole notion of the loyal opposition is one of the foundations of American democracy.
When we don’t agree with the far-right, it’s not because we hate America, it’s because we want the best America for everyone, not just the supporters of one candidate or another, but all people, all the time. The rampant inequality and divisiveness only get in the way of the American dream which so many Greek-Americans have been blessed to achieve. We should always remember where we came from, and the anti-immigrant violence and discrimination once directed at Greeks in the U.S. We didn’t overcome the obstacles without help and no one should expect other groups to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” without help of any kind.
Persephone Georgiadis is retired and lives in New York