In my early 20’s I was a member of a local Socialist organization in San Francisco for a few years. Though I’ve since identified consistently as a Democrat I still believe in the fundamentally compassionate principles of Socialism.
It’s very frustrating that associated groups/people are so stupidly and broadly vilified here in the US. They get a bad rap because, I believe, the essential principles of Socialism and Communism were deeply compromised due to being instituted in places that were not sufficiently developed to support the system, and became corrupt and severe to compensate.
As Marx wisely pointed out: a society must be sufficiently developed for Socialist ideals to be fully realized. And though admittedly, the leaders of these social movements ignored his warning and really screwed up, no political system is ever perfect. So, in developed countries which understand all this, Socialist principles are embraced but modified to suit the realities of their particular societies. They consistently rate as the best places to live, and the happiest people in the world. Go figure.
In the US the Dems are the closest we get to a viable social(ist)- oriented party. At our core, unlike the Republicans, most Dems believe the principle role of government is not to protect our sovereignty and position of power at all cost, but to provide (social) services and overall support for our citizens. And the idea of building walls to keep out “unworthy aliens” is anathema.
Unfortunately all political principles are at risk here because of our ridiculous, long and expensive electoral process, blind devotion to the promises of capitalism, and pervasive lobbying! Faced with these challenges, most US politicians of all stripes seem to forget what their job is and who they actually work for. They are continually in campaign mode, trying to appeal to everyone they can in order to be re-elected. So rather than being the norm, solidly principled politicians are rare beings to be celebrated.
But sadly, like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, these individuals are more often labeled as “weak” because they aren’t blustering blow-hards with itchy trigger-fingers, and a propensity to ignore or minimize the history, norms, achievements, and perspectives of other nations. God-forbid we should ever try to learn anything from societies that have been gaining experience for thousands of years! No, we have to reinvent the wheel every time we’re confronted with a new challenge, because we think “we know better” than everyone else. But in reality we’re quite unsophisticated politically and socially. Seriously, we can’t even handle more than two parties, let alone a woman for president. “Sad”