copyright © 2004 Steve Rawley

Sociaholics Anonymous
Copyright (C) 2004 by Steve Rawley

Hi. My name is Steve, and I'm a socialist.

[Audience: hi Steve.]

I haven't voted for an alternative presidential candidate for almost
four years.

[Audience: unenthusiastic applause]

It hasn't been easy, and the hardest time is coming. I'm coming up on
my fourth anniversary of being clean and sober, and I'm girding myself
for a tough election season.

This time around, there's been a lot of talk out there about values.

So what about traditional American values? What do we want, anyway? Some
say we're a divided nation, but I disagree. I think we all want pretty
much the same things out of life.

Here's what I want: A secure family-wage job, a home in a safe
neighborhood, schools that I can be proud to send my children to,
affordable health care, and a future for my family that I can look
forward to without uncertainty, fear or doubt.

How much more traditional does it get?

The difference is that I want this for everybody, not just me. That's
my problem.

"From each according to ability; to each according to need!" It's just
so tempting to subscribe to this, and I am tempted everyday.

"Full employment! Guaranteed housing and healthcare for all!" I must

Every morning, when I wake up, I want to shout to the world: "The
ongoing policy of the federal reserve board, sanctioned by Democrats
and Republicans alike, is to maintain 6% unemployment!" But I don't. One
day at a time, I fight back these demons and remain: a recovering

It used to be considered a liberal ideal that our society succeeds or
fails as a whole. That nobody is successful if anybody is failing. That
it's not a zero-sum game. But even these basic tenets of liberalism are
considered socialist now. Bad for business. And if it's bad for business,
it's bad for workers, right? Fine. I disavow it.

So here comes this election, the anniverssary of my last vote for a
progressive presidential candidate. What am I to do? Oddly, thanks to
the machinations of the Democrats and despite the machinations of
the Republicans, I may not even be granted the temptation in the state
of Oregon. Instead, my choice will be safe.

On the one side, we've got two pro-war, anti-labor, anti-civil
liberties, corporate sponsored white guys.

And that's the "liberal" ticket. Yeah, the most liberal ticket ever, according
to the right wingnuts.

Okay, all right, you wanna tell me they're not pro-war or anti-labor or
anti-civil liberties. Just a few words on that: voted for the war, voted
for fast track, voted for the patriot act.

On the other side, we've got two pro-war, anti-labor, anti-civil
liberties, corporate sponsored white guys.

Don't get me wrong, I can see the differences. It's just that the
differences are a matter of degrees rather than fundamental.

I know, I know, support of a woman's right to choose is a critical
difference. And yes, I'm fully aware we've got some older-than-dirt
Supremes fixin' to retire. And certainly, we'd have a less damaging
cabinet from the "liberal" party.

But whoever wins, we're stuck with conservative economic policy, based
on the manipulation of interest rates to maintain a pool of unemployed
workers to insure corporate profits. They've all drunk Allen Greenspan's
kool-aid, my friends, and so must I.

But I digress. Back to my socihalism for a moment. In order to recover
from socihalism, you've got to own if fully. You've got to understand its
roots. For me, it started in college, Social Problems 101.

What? All social problems are rooted in poverty? The dude who sat in front of
me in that huge lecture hall with his "Reagan '84" button didn't know
what to think of some of the required reading.

"The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison" left him kinda cold, I

Then there was my roommate Dave, the Econ PhD candidate, who was shocked
that I was conversant in Marx. Here's a coal miner's son from the hollers
of West Virginia, incredulous that the middle-class son of a university
librarian was more liberal than him. It drove him nuts to have to argue
to the right of anybody.

Later, I veered into apoliticalism in a drug induced haze, and later into
anarchaholism. But I finally settled back down into socihalism with a
working stiff job, which led me to unionism and a bitter organizing drive
with a natural food store chain. Nothing like a struggle for labor rights
with a bunch of corporate hippies to solidify a guy's leftist ideals.

Despite this, I voted for the "liberal" candidate in '92. Jesus, was I
disappointed. I said fuckall to that in '96, and again in 2000, when I
sunk to the depths of socihalism and voted for an alternative candidate
in a closely contested race.

Yes friends, it's because of socialists like you and me that we got
George W. Bush. Never mind that the "liberal" party put forth the weakest,
most conservative ticket in my political lifetime and mounted a futile
campaign of meek me-tooism against a cartoonishly bad candidate from the
other party. No, Iraq is my fault because I voted for Nader.

I own it friends. Never mind that the other party in congress voted
overwhelmingly to approve kicking the snot out of Iraq. It's Nader's fault.

I've got a friend in Minneapolis. He's still in denial about his
socihalism. He thinks that in terms of political pendulum swings, things
have to get a hell of a lot worse before they gonna get better. Electing
the "liberal" from Massachusetts is just gonna delay it. He might even
vote for Nader. Yes, Ralph Nader, the devil himself, according to many
of my "liberal" cohorts.

For me, it's one day at a time, my friends. I'm resigned to the fact that
I'm a socialist. But god willing, on November second, I'll mark four years
and a day since last voting for a progressive presidential candidate.

Thank you, and good night.

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