I have been following Lowman Henry’s commentaries with a generous attitude toward the newspaper editors for publishing points of view that are different from mine.

I take unusual exception to his Nov. 28 commentary on the Opinion page. He writes: “It is important to remember that communism and socialism are two sides of the same coin.” Now I ask, how so?

I am irritated at what seems to be a blatant attempt to associate two different political and economic theories, as a means, I guess, to cast aspersions on the word Socialism. Socialism is not necessarily a bad system.

My attention to politics has not been great, in-depth, nor astute. In my youth, I was told that U.S.S.R. and China had large populations suffering without enough access to the goods for their basic needs. Both countries seemed to have communist governments with a totalitarian hold on distribution of goods. Things were not shared in any fair way. The general population had very little say over their lives. As practiced in those two countries, communism was very top down, and the average citizen had little access to making things better for themselves.

Socialism seems to me to be a much softer form of collective responsibility for the basic needs of all. It could be beneficial in a democracy which decides collectively what the basic needs are, and how we shall make sure all are benefitting. In our democratic republic, we already have social workers, Social Security, social welfare, unemployment insurance, and Medicare. We have many tax-based services: free public education up through high school, free police and fire protection, free roads, bridges, and water departments and wastewater treatment plants, environmental protection agencies, and courts. Services managed by governmental entities for the benefit of all users -- aren’t these examples of socialism?

Who in this country stands for only the richest to have good education, health care, access to government, and to the power of making laws? Who do you think stands for this kind of government? Isn’t this what we are getting? This seems to me like the tyranny of money, not a government for the people, of the people, and by the people.

I do not want to be ruled by the rich for the rich, where all decisions are made on the basis of how they affect the economy. The economy has no ethics, no standards of caring for the health and safety of people, or for continued stability of the planetary ecosystems. The economy does not value life, it only values money, making more of it.

Barry Lopez: “Democracy is no longer working here. It’s been infiltrated by people with commercial goals, and the level of corruption and corrupt intent is now staggering.”

I want to live in a world where every life is valued, where access to basic needs is a right, and where there is an enlightened embrace of stability, social justice, and a concern for the fate of all people, one that places the well-being of everyone at its center. Why don’t we go in that direction? Does that appeal to you?

Susan Curry

Ambler

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