ALPERN AT LARGE--As aforestated in a previous and recent CityWatch article, we're in a cultural and educational "Denaissance", and in a world increasingly rife with blind faith and false narratives that seek to confuse, confound, and ultimately divide us.
Which is rather sad, because most of us are on the same page.
Many of us, particularly younger voters, are flocking to socialists such as Bernie Sanders, or very-left-leaning liberals such as Elizabeth Warren. These two make the right points (the rent is too damned high, college costs are too damned high, and health care costs are too damned high) but propose solutions that aren't mathematically viable.
Certainly, the disgusting reality of employers exploiting their workers by suggesting a "9 to 5" schedule that is anything but is nothing new, but the lack of current "good corporate citizens" is both reprehensible and the stuff of non-violent (or even violent) revolutions.
But throwing math and reason out the window isn't the answer.
And for those who choose to ignore (or who were never taught!) what true socialism and mega-leftism has done throughout the world, and over the past two centuries, is a wretched denial of history and a potential future that still goes on in the once-prosperous nation of Venezuela.
The excesses of socialism are very real. The National Socialists (Nazis) of Hitler's Germany, who murdered millions, were no better than the Socialists/Communists of Mao or Stalin.
That said, neither Sanders nor Warren are murderers, or plotting to murder anyone. And those who adhere to their "free health care" or "free college" don't want to murder anyone. But their concerns about income inequality and the yawning chasm between the haves and have-nots are premised by one basic tenet:
They don't want to die.
In a world where the system is gamed to prevent anyone young from owning (or at least affordably renting) a place to live, they want their own version of the GI Bill.
That said, how many deep in debt are in that position because of horrible blunders of poor judgment, and because they didn't focus on job skills and work 60-80+ hours during their youth? And are they scornful of those who DID work harder than they did, yet demand the same benefits?
Hence, the questions of false narratives, non-truths-but-oft-repeated-tag-lines, and lack of critical thinking will encumber those who demand moral and realistic fairness...because those who can't or choose not to work 60-80+ hours a week shouldn't have to be thrown out into the street.
Enter the pro-Trump crowd, who like the pro-Sanders crowd are not monomorphic. To decry any one group as "deplorables" or "fascists" or "socialists" or "lazy freeloaders" is to paint with a broad brush is both inaccurate and unfair...especially the "inaccurate" part of that painting.
Many favor Sanders or Warren but in their hearts know their ideas are just not tenable...and they work a great deal to move ahead. Yet the move forward for American individuals and families appears to be rougher and tougher than in previous generations (or at least the optics and hullaballoo of social media promotes that conclusion).
Similarly, many of those who favor Trump don't like his tweets, statements, or demonization of those who oppose him...but recognize that his opponents are just as (if not more so, at times) just as nasty and scheming as the Orange Man in the White House.
Adhering to Trump is something that some do because they deem him the last hope in D.C. to be pro-America, and to advocate for Joe or Jane American.
And they, too, don't want to die.
Those playing by the rules have been played for fools, and the economic destruction is matched only by the indignation of those who are tired of either corporate crony capitalism/corporate welfare, or tired of the growing nanny/welfare state that is entirely unsustainable (and filled with too many who are not helpless, and make their claims at the expense of those who truly are).
It's no secret that the President has fought like hell to keep prescription drug costs down, and it's a pity that the impeachment issues surrounding Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have put on hold a few critical bills that would have enjoyed bipartisan consensus. Because drug costs ARE too damned high.
It's also a pity that the White House, led by Ivanka Trump, is not getting credit for being a major proponent of affordable childcare. Whether one despises the idea of a President's relative involved in domestic policy or foreign policy (hello, son in-law Jared Kushner!), the issue is one worthy of focus and discussion.
And as to the issue of "socialism", we're already "socialist" to some degree, to quote Scott Adams.
To label Social Security and Medicare and other safety net provisions as "socialist" is to be part-correct and part-incorrect. A shared agreement and investment by taxpayers and the government is hardly "socialist".
Yet overburdening and mandating employers and job-creators be de facto employees of the federal or state IS socialist. And having governmental employees and politicians enjoy benefits and earlier retirement than the majority of Americans IS socialist.
Both Canada and Europe are less socialist than is commonly promoted, and the United States is less capitalist than is commonly promoted.
And both the rights and responsibilities of American citizens (and those not here legally, as well as those who knowingly hire and exploit both legal and illegal American workers) have yet to be defined.
An adherence to Reason over Faith is particularly hard to do when one's future and life is at stake.
Hence the lack of proper education that teaches critical thinking, and promotes learning all sides of a controversial issue, and the fight for economic survival and a quality of life for one's family, will lead to blind Faith when Reason remains the best answer.
Welcome, again, to the Denaissance.
(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)