Letter to the Editor: Welcome to American Socialism! by Grenville Whitman


As he runs for re-election, GOP Gov. Larry Hogan is labeling his Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous, a “socialist.” As a conservative Republican, it’s likely that Mr. Hogan believes that “socialist” is a pejorative term (much like his misleading “rain tax” label), but this just shows his failure to understand what socialism is.

Welcome to American socialism, Brother Hogan! Here’s an expanded version of a Facebook posting explaining that you’re a socialist if:

  • Your drinking water’s from a public system;
  • You value clean air;
  • Your home connects to a public wastewater plant;
  • You drive safely on a public highway, and your car is safe, too;
  • Your home is safe ‘cause it was inspected through and through;
  • Your municipality plows you out;
  • You get accurate weather reports;
  • You can sue someone in court;
  • Your children attend public school or use the public library;
  • You call the cops for assistance, and they show up;
  • Your children attend a public college or university;
  • You’re enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid;
  • You qualify for food stamps, rent assistance, WIN, and CHIP;
  • The feds test your medications to make them safe and effective;
  • Ditto the food you feed your family;
  • You decide which foods to buy based on info on container labels;
  • Your kid’s toys are safe;
  • You enjoy a park (municipal, county, state, or federal);
  • You rely on public transportation;
  • Your plane lands safely;
  • You have a safe trip by train or bus or taxi or subway;
  • You found your dog in a municipal shelter.

Grenville B. Whitman

Rock Hall


Letters to Editor

  1. Michael Heffron says

    I prefer the classic definition of socialism over something someone wrote on a Facebook post. But then, look hard or long enough on the internet and you’ll find something that supports your perspective on life. Memes are such a worthwhile reference source of information for some.

    a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
    synonyms: leftism, welfarism; More
    policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.
    synonyms: leftism, welfarism; More
    (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.

    • Michael McDowell says

      Hmm…this “Marxist” trope is becoming tiresome. DEMOCRATIC socialism OR SOCIAL DEMOCRACY, is what Bernie Sanders, and others these days, call for. The above American (*?) dictionary definition is used by the US right to equate democratic socialists or social democrats with….communists. And it works far too often. Here (see below) is an accurate and up to date definition which applies, well, in some Canadian provinces, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, much of Western Europe, including Ireland and the UK. It is written by Michael Tomasky, Editor of the respected journal, Democracy. And let’s remember that the British Labour Party Government which succeeded Churchill after 1945, brought in free university education, the national health service, etc. They were fierce anti-communists and routed communists out of the Labour Party, were key in establishing NATO, and many had served in the armed forces in the 1st and 2nd. world wars. A record of democrats to be proud of. They were…democrat socialists!

      • MichaelNo Heffron says

        Re-defining to suit a political agenda is tiring. But, dispute one side’s attempt to redefine a term or word or even a revisionist picture of history and one is quickly labeled as a supporter of the “others”. I am neither, just one who points out hypocrisy and untruths. Socialism is what it always was. That has not changed.

  2. Keith Thompson says


    Anyone who attempts to sell the idea of American Socialism (or Democratic Socialism), by pointing out all of the things that government does; must also be willing to pinpoint what branch of government is going to provide the service, how that service will be carried out, and most importantly how that service will be budgeted and paid for. If you want to define all government services as “Socialism” that’s fine, but every self-described Socialist I’ve encountered always wants to expand the role of the federal government, and often this means centralized government where the federal government is inefficiently providing services that are better provided at the local level.

    One of the hallmarks of our American form of government is that we have a Constitution that limits the size of the federal government and leaves much of the decision making up to state and local governments. Over the past couple of generations, we have changed our priorities from a bottom-up focus to a top-down focus on government priorities. One look at the trillions of dollars of national debt rung up by American Socialist thinking shifting the priorities to the federal government shows that Socialists simply are not capable of making the difficult decisions of prioritizing how taxpayer dollars should be spent. For many of the priorities listed by Mr. Whitman, these decisions are better handled from Chestertown or Annapolis than they are from Washington DC.

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