Distraction of TimeDespite what the mainstream media may be telling you, Bernie Sanders is not “crazy.”

They’re only calling him that because any politician who comes out for sensible government that might operate outside of the direct control of the reigning corporate hegemony is automatically attacked by the corporate-run media as being “crazy” and “ridiculous” in order to get him off the ticket, so more compliant candidates can take his place. That’s been the case for the last 40 years.

Many believe him to be “unelectable” because he self-identifies as a Socialist, and (or so we are told) “America isn’t a socialist country!”

That’s technically not entirely true. Socialism isn’t really a “form” of government; it’s more a descriptor of how a particular government distributes the wealth amassed by that government through taxation. The mandated “form” of government under which the USA exists is a (representative) democratic republic. Financially and economically, meanwhile, we’re whatever the hell we all decide we want to be. That’s mostly capitalist in areas of business mercantile and socialist in areas relating to public services.

If we want to be less socialist, we can privatize all our government services and pay for them individually, ourselves. If we want to be more socialist, we’ll create more tax-funded government services for the well-being of the general citizenry. What we currently do is a mixture of the two, based on what our representative government system decides is best in specific situations. Which makes muy mucho sense.

There is nothing in our Constitution that specifically dictates what system our economy will be. However, it does pretty effectively spell out that the ownership of private property will be protected. Which doesn’t mean we can’t choose to adopt socialist systems when we want, so long as we can still own, sell, and trade our own private property.

Communism is right out, because it bestows all property-ownership rights on the federal government, and the Tenth Amendment Reserved Powers clause puts the kabosh on that ever happening.

“Communism,” that age-old boogeyman formerly used to frighten Cold War kids (and paranoid adults) into patriotic compliance, is actually just a failed experiment in Marxist theory that has never been successfully installed or implemented without almost immediately being co-opted by a totalitarian regime.

So in THAT sense, “Socialism” is a system of taxation and expenditure that allows money to be pooled and used by the government for the common good— and it can be limited or controlled as deemed wise by the society— whereas “Communism” (“…just relax and trust an oligarchic ‘single party’ government to own and control all production and dispensation”), combined with the impossible chimera of a “classless society,” are carrots used by would-be fascists to trick the disenfranchised into allowing the creation of a totalitarian junta that may still be called Communism, but is really just an oligarchical, party-run police state.

Socialism has often been accused of being a “gateway drug” that paves the way for the godless rigors of Communism. And that HAS happened in some places, back when Communism was still a thing. Because a limited amount of socialist government CAN be a really good thing for the citizenry. It can then be used as an example by saying “a little bit of a good thing must mean that MORE of it is BETTER.”

That leads to calls to turn over ALL production and wealth to “a fair and balanced government.” i.e, COMMUNISM. That then gets hijacked into totalitarianism (see above). If you blindly trust “the party” to distribute all wealth evenly, you must thereby GIVE them all the wealth and power. If you do that, prepare to be screwed.

The brand of socialism that Bernie Sanders champions is already here, folks, and since its beginnings under FDR’s New Deal initiatives, it helped propel the United States into an unmatched 40-year-period of upward mobility for the entire nation. But there are lots of would-be political demagogues out there eager to use that word—”socialism”— as an excuse to frighten the ignorant onto their own voter rolls.

I habitually dislike rabid demagoguery from any side, be it from either the pinheads on MSNBC or the windbags on Fox News. Political propaganda cannot be trusted. And if someone honestly believes that a “news source” with such a ridiculously blatant agenda as either of the franchises mentioned above can be trusted as “real” informative news, then either that person isn’t very discerning, or else he is too lazy to wade through the BS and think for himself.

But things are ramping up to what could be the weirdest electoral year ever. Conservative Christians bashing on the Pope for quoting Jesus is pretty damn crazy; that’s some serious hardcore double-think. The Pope is openly opposed to birth control, abortion, same sex marriage, and is directly aligned with the American conservative establishment in countless ways, both religious and secular. And yet Fox brands him Public Enemy #1 because he supports general human rights and opposes greed and avarice. That’s a pretty clear message about the Fox News agenda.

Just so long as none of us eat shellfish! Which is, as everyone knows, an abomination before the Lord. As some would also say about the evils of Socialism, that terrifying force that builds our roads and provides our Medicare.

Fundamentalism, of whatever stripe— be it religious, philosophical, or political— is always a misguided effort to make use of the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to conjure an invented “purity” of the imaginary “good old days” that never truly existed. It’s an exercise in historical (or theological) revisionism, pursued by people too frightened to dwell in the present and face the future.

But the mob is scary. And right now, on both sides, you have political candidates trying not to anger their base, and trying their best to appeal to their base.

Trouble is, both sides have consistently said and done things that have alienated ALL their bases, to the point where they can’t even identify who their bases are anymore.

All their bases are belong to us.