The Unlikely Story of How I Became a Socialist

by Landon Girod 14 days ago in opinion

How listening to Bernie Sanders explain what socialism actually is helped me change my long-held capitalist beliefs

The Unlikely Story of How I Became a Socialist

You know who I have to thank for me becoming a socialist? It’s the last person I would’ve ever expected to be honest.

Joe pot-smoking, conspiracy-believing, MMA-loving Rogan and his famous podcast. Which I religiously watch on YouTube almost every morning.

One morning I found several new videos on my feed showing clips of Joe talking to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a known democratic socialist.

For the past few years my political views have turned from red to being carefully dyed with liberal blue. But I still considered the senator from Vermont to be too left wing for my tastes.

It took years for me to change from being a donkey loathing red blooded American to the critical thinking liberal I am today.

However, it only took two hours for Bernie Sanders to convince me to become a democratic socialist.

When you consider my high school education, it’s a miracle I ever switched sides.

See, I was homeschooled. My parents being very conservative, I was given a very conservative education.

My economics course was essentially a textbook telling me how much better capitalism was than any other forms of running an economy. It sounds like brainwashing, because it is brainwashing. But what kid who grew up in the bible belt isn’t a little brainwashed, right?

Luckily I was able to reverse effects of my close-minded education by educating myself. Which was something my mom taught me. Despite teaching me the things she did, her main goal was to instill the valuable skill of life-long learning. A skill I believe she’d rather me have than being a close-minded Republican.

Nevertheless, after listening to what Bernie had to say, I could feel a tenacious heat from capitalism “Berning” to the ground inside my brain (I apologize for the terrible pun).

Everything I’d ever believed about the market, health care, college, was brutally turned upside down. I’d always believed in how the United States economy gave rich rewards to its successful few. Particularly, that the private sector should, and could the run the nation more efficiently. By giving incentives, people would work harder, make more money, and most people would win.

Capitalism encouraged me to strive for what they had. That changed when Bernie explained the many problems with lobbying, and the excessively rich people who run its system.

Before some MAGA-hat wearing, 65-year-old man pops out of the screen and screams how I’m just another lazy millennial trying to take hard working ‘Murican’s money, let me explain.

First off, technically I’m Gen Z, imaginary MAGA guy. Too young to be a millennial. Secondly, I don’t want the billionaires money. It’s more like I want it channeled somewhere else, as in not hiding inside a senators pocket.

What the heck is lobbying though?

Long story short, it’s seeking to influence a politician or public official on an important issue.

To better understand the concept, please study super-sciency looking graphic—

Influence = $$$$$

We’re one of only 22 countries that allow lobbying. And we hold more than one quarter of the world’s billionaires. More specifically, there are 2,604 billionaires in the world. 607 reside in our country. Let that sink in, like the titanic.

Corporations and individuals can lobby the living shit out of our political system. Simply due to the fact they have more cash than we have. Meaning their interests get special attention compared to us.

Sure we get to vote. But Jeff Bezos gets to help decide what kind of corporate tax laws the government charges its private companies.

Speaking of corporate tax laws, let’s segue into our next topic, one Bernie really opened my eyes to.

Bernie claimed to Joe Rogan that Amazon the company didn’t pay any taxes in 2018.

Of course I had to fact check that (I still didn’t quite trust Bernie at this point in the podcast).

He was 100% right.

Amazon paid ZERO federal income taxes in 2018. Zip, zilch, nada. Even though they doubled their profits, most likely cause somebody (definitely not me), bought 30 ebooks and several 15 pounds bags of sour patch kids last year.

By the way, when I say profit, I’m talking about $11.2 billion in profit. I still got taxed for the measly 11k I made from my part-time dishwashing job.

According to Bernie though, this is just the tip of the massive green-backed iceberg.

There’s trillions upon trillions of unclaimed tax dollars from companies who aren’t paying any taxes.

I used to laugh at Bernie Sanders when he would scream in his goofy accent about how he was going to take on the billionaires. Now I wanted to ride along with him.

I’d always been an optimist. But still thought Bernie’s goals were farfetched.

Free healthcare, free college, free shit upon free shit.

It sounded like a typical fantasy spun together by a typical utopian author dreaming of how they’d like the world to be.

But after Bernie Sanders answered Joe Rogan’s many well thought of questions with relative ease, my mind had been changed.

His plan had become Claritin clear.

After forcing the mega rich and their corporations to pay taxes, the government would use the trillions of extra income to help build programs helpful programs like free healthcare and free college.

I had always considered myself a fiscally conservative person. Fiscal conservatives, of course, preach that their policies are based in sound logic and facts. Something I proudly believed in politically.

After two hours of listening to Bernie I thought the fiscal conservatives to be far more illogical beings.

How does it make any sense for a man worth over $100 billion to pay a lower percentage in taxes than a teacher or a blue collar worker?

Or to allow these people, a very small majority of our population, to so immensely influence our law and bills.

It would be like letting one guy decide what everyone has to order in a big restaurant. If the rich guy wants the spicy peanut curry, well you better hope you’re not allergic to peanuts.

Say what you will.

Say capitalism built this country.

Claim our system is fine just like it is.

Socialism has never worked and it never will.

This is heavily flawed black-and-white thinking. Not going deeper or asking questions, just keeping things the way they are.

Thinking the country needs less taxes and more billionaires because “that’s just capitalism baby” is an extremely dangerous sentiment.

Instead of thinking critically and asking key questions like: Could the opioid crisis be stopped with free healthcare? Or why does Jeff Bezos pay a lower percentage of taxes than me? Or even why on fucking earth am I paying 100k bucks for a liberal arts degree?

Answering these questions could change our country like its never been changed. And Bernie is one of the few who have been asking them.

I don’t believe Bernie Sanders is going to save the galaxy by any means. Nobody’s Luke Skywalker. Mostly because Luke is not real. And neither are the odds Bernie would be able to implement any of his radical policies in eight years behind the resolute desk.

Either way, I’m a socialist now. Living in an obnoxiously capitalist country. Hoping for more Bernies to come along. I give them my support, and my vote, as well as wishing them good luck.

Lastly, to you, the reader of this article. I ask that you’d wish me luck. I’ll need a lot of it when I attend my family’s next Thanksgiving celebration.

opinion
Landon Girod
Landon Girod
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