Politics

A Generational Reminder About Civics and Socialism

An astonishing 45% would vote for a socialist president. Civics ignorance at its worst.

Michael Swartz · Feb. 14, 2020

One reason for the archives we keep here at The Patriot Post is to remind people of things like Ronald Reagan’s admonition: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.” This bears repeating, given that a recent Gallup survey found 45% of Americans would vote for a socialist for president.

That’s a disturbing number, especially to those who remember the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall, and fellow countrymen fighting and dying to prevent the spread of communism.

Unfortunately, as we detailed a while back, given the state of civics and history education in this country, the Gallup results aren’t entirely surprising. In this era of white-hot political hatred, tens of millions of Americans will vote against President Donald Trump regardless of the opposition.

Not coincidentally, the new frontrunner in the Democrat primaries is, as The Daily Wire’s Josh Hammer aptly describes him, “Soviet Union-honeymooning, Sandinista-supporting, Fidel Castro-praising, full-on socialist loon bag” Sen. Bernie Sanders. While there’s an argument contending that Sanders has hit his electoral peak and is only leading a field where moderate opposition is scattered among several candidates — leaving only him and fast-fading fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the full-on socialist lane — the Gallup results suggest otherwise.

That doesn’t mean Democrats aren’t trying to hedge their bets, especially those who won congressional seats in 2018 in districts Trump carried two years earlier. In the last election, these Democrats managed to con enough of their constituents into believing they were moderates. But midterm elections are historically unfriendly to a sitting president of the opposite party, and making Sanders the Democrats’ standard-bearer scares the daylights out of them. “I have made my thoughts very known that I would prefer to see a moderate candidate atop the ticket,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a New York freshman Democrat whose district went for Trump by 15 points but who won in 2018 by less than 2%.

Yet the socialists have their supporters, too. “They know that [Sanders] is going to hold corporations accountable. They know … he’s going to make them pay their fair share,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar at a Sanders event in Nevada, which is next on the Democrat primary docket. Omar is one of three Bernie backers (along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib) on the four-woman House “Squad,” with Rep. Ayanna Pressley backing her home-state senator, Warren. Considering their average age is 39, these four far-left firebrands embody the anti-American political indoctrination our young people have been receiving in recent decades.

As he was leaving office in 1989 — the same year AOC was born — President Reagan summed up the problem that would manifest itself three decades later:

Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t re-institutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare.

Those who were 35 in 1989 are now reaching retirement age, and most of Reagan’s peers have long since left the political stage. But if freedom is indeed still “special and rare,” those of us who care should redouble our efforts to defend it.

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