It’s amazing what some people believe about the President. As reported in the current issue of Harper’s magazine, a January survey indicated that 24% of the Republicans in the country said President Obama “wants the terrorists to win.” Writing for the March 24 issue of U.S. News and World Report, Robert Schlesinger reports that a recent poll indicated that 57% of Republicans think the President is a Muslim and about one in four suspect that he is the Antichrist!
As indicated in my last posting, one of the persistent charges against the President is that he is leading the country toward socialism. According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll as reported in the April 14 issue of the NY Times, 92% of the Tea Party backers “believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.”
As I indicated in my previous posting, it might be a positive thing for vast numbers of people if the country did move more toward socialism. But there is little indication that the country has, in fact, moved very far in that direction. On April 10, Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University, New Orleans, posted “Nine Myths about Socialism in the US” on “Bill Quigley’s Blog.”
Quigley compared the U.S. with the thirty countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He says that when one looks at how the U.S. compares to the thirty OECD countries, “the hot air myths about the US government going all out towards socialism sort of disappear into thin air.” (For those who are interested, you can read about the nine myths here.)
Quigley’s conclusion: “Despite what the right wing folks are saying, the US is not on the path towards socialism.” Then he adds, “But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies, our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers, and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.”**
So, while some people charge the President with leading the country toward socialism, seeing that as a very negative thing, the facts seem to show the U.S. is a long ways from socialism at this point—and for many people who are hurting now that may be the bad news rather than the good news.
** You may be interested to know that Quigley, who teaches Social Justice Lawyering and other courses at Loyola, was awarded the Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award in 2003. The first person to be given that award by Pax Christi was Dorothy Day in 1978, and other recipients include Daniel Berrigan (1989), Joan Chittister (1990), and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (1991). You may not be familiar with the latter name, but he was the bishop interviewed briefly by Michael Moore in Capitalism: A Love Story.