There is a story making the rounds of a pool reporter on Air Force One who asked President Obama, "Are you a socialist?" We assume here the reporter was acting in good faith, probably hoping the President would chime in with something newsworthy, or refute a conservative talking point now being broadcast from the exalted head of the Republican Party, AKA, his High Holiness Rush Limbaugh. In recognition of Dday's recommended diary, and in the spirit of that good faith, we offer some context for that reporter, and any others that might be lurking here on a beautiful Sunday evening.
The special 747, designated as Air Force One when the Commander in Chief is onboard, was built to custom order and paid for by US taxpayers. The general design and that specific airplane were enabled by decades of big government spending on aerospace technology. Every nut and bolt in that plane and any other airliner was checked for flight worthiness by government inspectors making it, in GOP parlance these days, a 'socialist' aircraft. As with all domestic flights, it is safely guided from take off to landing by a national network of highly trained government paid air traffic controllers - another "socialist" organization -- utterly dependent on an invention using radio detecting and ranging developed under the administration of a socialist President during World War II. Many of the pilots who fly Air Force One and its Marine counterpart were trained to navigate and fly sophisticated aircraft at considerable taxpayer expense in the military - yet another big government "socialist" enterprise tasked with fighting wars and ensuring the survival of American democracy.
That same reporter in all likelihood attended a public socialist kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school. They may or may not have gone on to a state socialist university. Throughout their life they depended on the local 'socialist' police force, and may even have had occasion to call a socialist hotline alerting the socialist fire department to quickly intervene in all manner of life and death emergencies. The reporter is old enough to remember standing transfixed in horror the day that thousands of those 'socialist' heroes rushed headlong into the burning World Trade Towers, and were ground into socialist pulp in the ensuing collapse before the eyes of millions of horrified viewers watching on television networks created and regulated by a socialist behemoth known as the Federal Communications Commission.
I know nothing about the health of the reporter (And I wish no ill fortune on them), but odds are close to 100 per cent that sooner or later their life, or the life of a loved one, will be improved, prolonged, or saved, again and again, by drugs and treatments developed by big government socialist programs and over seen for safety and efficacy by a big nasty socialist FDA. Those same programs and others like them will likely add, on average, another precious decade or two of life expectancy for the reporter, his friends, and his family.
It's a statistical certainty that the reporter has friends and family spared the grinding poverty and spiraling morbidity that once was synonymous with old age prior to the advent of socialized medicine and social security for the elderly. These programs are so successful that the reporter need not even contemplate them, knowing they will be there when he or she needs them, even if that reporter chooses to faithfully reproduce the talking points of right-wing politicians, each and everyone supported by the state and enjoying the benefits of comprehensive government healthcare provided at taxpayer expense, bitching and whining endlessly about the evils of socialism.
Every week or two, the reporter will probably make sure their paycheck is directly and/or correctly deposited into their online checking account. The internet making this possible is an outgrowth of a Cold War relic, socialism by any other name. And even in the midst of the worst economic meltdown since 1929, the reporter can rest comfortably knowing their hard-earned bank deposits are insured by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. The losses will be socialized, the banks and brokerage houses stabilized, and in the event any of the above fails, the institutions will be nationalized. All modern commerce and the everyday welfare of every citizen in this nation depends on it.
But in closing we should note, in all fairness: the reporter was absolutely well within his or her rights to pose any question, report any answer, or provide any commentary and opinion of their choosing. Because in this country, the press is protected by an enumerated right enshrined in a 'socialist' document written by radical progressives, since defended at enormous cost in the lives and limbs of countless members in the socialist Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, and beginning with a preamble that would stir the collectivist heart of any Marxist: "We the People ..."