By Loribeth Reynolds

This weekend Halloween arrives. The time is upon us to talk about things that frighten people. Let’s start with socialism.

It’s strange that one single word has conservatives shaking in their boots.

The definition of a socialist economy is the belief that the community as a whole should control social organizations, the means of production, distribution, and exchange.

Whew, glad that we were able to get through that. In short, socialism means a government by, of, and for the people.

Let’s go through some of the ways in which we all use American Socialism everyday.

When you travel on the highway, go to a public school, use water in your home, or go to a hospital, you are taking advantage of American Socialism.

A majority of us enjoy some type of weekend. The weekend was fought for by the Socialist labor movements of the 19th century.

Also on the topic of labor, in 1938 Congress pass a bill called the Fair Labor Standards Act. This bill abolished child labor, set a minimum wage, and secured a 40-hour workweek. Ahem, thank you, unions!

I think we all can agree that this movement set some good standards for American business owners, unless you want to buy goods from a sweatshop.

So why is it time to talk about the word socialist? Bernie Sanders is running for president in 2016, and he considers himself a Democratic Socialist.

What exactly does that mean? Well, it’s simple. A Democratic Socialist supports a democracy while believing in a socialist economy — a government by, of and for the people.

In fact, socialism has been proven to actually work for our economy. Over 30,000 public works programs sponsored by the government were created under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

This move was a strategy to pull the country out of the Great Depression.

The New Deal was labeled “socialist” because it gave us things like unemployment benefits and Social Security.

These are safety nets to take care of our citizens because, after all, we are not some third world country. I hope we all love our fellow Americans.

I know, I know, you’re for the individual and small government. You still hold on tight to the delusional American Dream.

You might believe that if America were to turn socialist, our children would be put into government education camps, force-fed propaganda and raised as slaves, wearing a type of red national uniform, all the while making a killing on welfare.

But this image of socialism is wrong.

You see, socialism in a capitalist country would work soundly.

The money you pay in would be going to programs that help you and your neighbors, not just the one percent.

These programs would make that American Dream attainable again. Imagine a government working for the people. Sounds pretty American, huh?

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