This column appeared two years ago. With the election fast approaching and Republicans stoking fears of the “radical left,” I’ve updated it.

Republicans cast liberals as radical, with anti-law enforcement, anti-military and anti-capitalist views. It’s a smokescreen that belies liberal accomplishments conservatives want you to forget on Nov. 3:

♦ Do you or your parents collect Social Security? Thank liberals.

♦ If you or a loved one requires expensive health care, has Medicare or Medicaid saved your family from bankruptcy? Thank liberals.

♦ Do you have a preexisting condition but are still covered for medical treatment? Thank liberals.

♦ Do you work a 40-hour week? Thank liberals.

♦ If you’ve been out of work, did you collect unemployment insurance? Thank liberals.

♦ Are the foods you eat, the medicines you take and the water you drink safe? Thank liberals.

♦ If you’re a woman, are your reproductive rights protected? Thank liberals.

♦ Are you a member of a labor union that ensures a fair wage, benefits and safe working conditions? Thank liberals.

♦ Do your kids attend public schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade? Thank liberals.

♦ If you’re a person of color, are you free to use public accommodations? Thank liberals.

I could list many more “radical left” achievements, but remember this: Republicans attacked all of them as “socialism” or “communism.”

Back in the mid-1960s, a washed-up B movie actor named Ronald Reagan recorded a speech condemning Medicare as lost freedom. Freedom to be old, sick and die in poverty? That kind of freedom?

At its core, conservatism is founded on deceiving average Americans into opposing the very policies that would improve their lives.

This was on display with the Affordable Care Act. Fully implemented, the ACA would unquestionably lower the cost and improve the quality of health care for millions of working families. Backed by special interest dark money, however, Republicans continue to sabotage it, today jamming through a Supreme Court nominee who will undoubtedly help repeal all of the protections the ACA affords.

Conservatives say liberals want to steal our democracy, when it is they who see democracy as their enemy. Everywhere Republicans rule, including Georgia, they actively suppress voting, the most fundamental democratic freedom we have.

Republicans know they can’t win elections unless they purge voting rolls, gerrymander districts and make it as difficult as possible for minorities and young people to vote. They justify their deceit by telling us they want to protect elections from voting fraud, which is virtually non-existent, according to a study done by no less than the Trump administration.

Among anti-liberal canards is the one about guns. There are more than 300 million guns in the hands of Americans, but the right would have you believe liberals want every last one of them confiscated.

What would that even look like? Realistically, how would you go about rounding up all those guns?

It’s a blatantly dishonest argument and another example of how conservatives conjure up bogus conspiracies to serve their purposes. They exploit a relatively small audience of overheated gun owners willing to believe a falsehood when all liberals want — as do many gun owners — are sensible gun safety laws.

Conservatives declare the war on poverty is lost. This is a pernicious lie that suggests we stop helping disadvantaged Americans. When Democratic President Lyndon Johnson launched his Great Society in 1964, he targeted poverty because he’d seen its horrific effects, especially on children, as a schoolteacher in Depression-era Texas.

Poverty today looks nothing like it did then or even in the mid-1960s. The poor have access to financial support, food, housing, health care, job training and other benefits that make up America’s social safety net. How many millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty thanks to these programs?

Do some abuse them? Of course. But for real abuse, take a look at how spectacularly profitable corporations force their workers to rely on government benefits like food stamps by keeping wages low.

Who wins if there’s no social safety net? The 1% and Wall Street swells, and that’s all Republicans care about. In 2018, they cut their taxes and are now looking for ways to pay for those cuts at the expense of middle class and low-income Americans.

This leads to another characterization conservatives love to apply to liberals. We’re “bleeding hearts” because we care about the welfare of our fellow citizens. I plead guilty.

We live in the most prosperous nation in human history. We easily have the resources to care for every last American who needs help, even in this time of COVID. Conservatives counter that charities can care for the poor. Read Charles Dickens if you want to know how that worked out in 19th-century England.

As President Harry Truman observed in 1952, socialism is the “scare word” Republicans always throw at anything that serves the greater good because fear is all they ever had to offer.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, writer and author who lives in Kennesaw. You can contact him through his website at kevinemmetfoley.com.

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(13) comments

Howard Peterson

Your column is a STRETCH!! When one party, the Democrats, will stop at nothing to gain power, that is Socialism or Communism. With a Harris / Biden win with total gov't control, there will be court packing, medicare for all including illegal aliens, citizenship for all illegal aliens for about 12 million more Dem. votes, open borders, statehood for Puerto Rico & DC to add more Dem. votes to the Senate & House and total EXTINCTION of the Republican Party! ONE PARTY RULE!! NOW THAT'S SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM AND GET READY FOR IT WITH A DEM. VICTORY IN NOVEMBER!!

Howard Peterson

I actually agree with Sheldon Whitehouse (D) from Rhode Island. He wants an end to "dark money"! So do I!! That would put most Dem. candidates for office this year out of business!!!

Howard Peterson

Is the Democrat Party messed up or what?? And they are aided 24/7 by the nincompoops on Fake News!! If Harris/Biden should win, this country will be 1 giant DISASTER! Elections have consequences and their victory will be ALL BAD!!

Howard Peterson

Congrats to the MDJ for getting rid of the old message system. It appears censoring happy Facebook went out the door with the old system and I'm hoping Facebook & Twitter both go out the door real soon and never to return again......

Roy Kellett

Socialism has worked so well in other countries that citizens of those countries want to escape to the USA to be free of government control of everything. If socialism is so wonderful what would Kevin like for socialist medical care. It works so well in Canada that their citizens come to the United States to seek medical scans.

Howard Peterson

Vote RED on November 3: Remove Every Democrat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Howard Peterson

I'm trying my best to warn everybody. Don't vote for Harris/Biden. When you watch this country go down the drain, you WILL be sorry if you do vote for them!! Oh, did I mention loss of 1st Amendment with Silicon Valley controlling what you read or say, loss of 2nd Amendment with Beto O'Rourke as the "gun tsar", AOC as the "energy tsar" and kissing up to China??? Maybe Hunter Biden would be named Secretary of State.....Don't laugh.......This is the most serious election we have faced! Save the day & VOTE FOR TRUMP!!!

Howard Peterson

Your column is entitled "Socialism is a Scare Word". When you think of the Socialism that the squad, the radical far left and Kamala Harris have in mind, you're DARN right it's a scare word!!! And YES, Kevin, you should be scared of that too!!!

LUKE BRACKETT

Hey Emmet,

I want to be the first to congratulate you on sending back to the federal government any monetary benefit you or your firm may have received in President Trump’s bogus tax relief scam. Government bureaucrats are much better at spending our tax dollars than we are. They buy things with the confiscated tax dollars that are needed to keep the nation going. All things from paper clips to nuclear attack submarines and every imaginable thing in between. Having a legally enforceable tax lien garnishment on personal hard-earned income by the government is the only way to go. Everyone should follow your lead and send back any monetary benefit received from the Trumptonian fake tax relief hoax asap!

Howard Peterson

If Harris/Biden should win the upcoming election with control of the government, it's obvious that Twitter, Facebook & the rest of Silicon Valley will be left untouched. Therefore there will be more censorship and suppression of our rights to freedom of speech as everyday John Q Citizen. All we will hear will be what the one party control Democrats & Fake News wants us to hear. I'm sure there will be some attempt to eliminate or control Fox News but I sure as h... hope they are not successful!!!

LUKE BRACKETT

Hello Kevin,

You wrote the following:

“Poverty today looks nothing like it did then or even in the mid-1960s. The poor have access to financial support, food, housing, health care, job training and other benefits that makeup America’s social safety net.”

Yes, there are billions of tax dollars perpetually earmarked to relieve the hardships of the poor and to support a bloated government bureaucracy to run the scheme.

However, to keep this utilitarian welfare scheme going at top speed a legally enforceable monetary garnishment or lien is permanently attached to the productive taxpayer’s earnings. And if the garnished taxpayer doesn’t like supporting the scheme his or her opinion is not relevant because this welfare scheme brings the greatest good to the greatest number. This (trumps) any criticism of the scheme.

Sounds like socialism to me.

Howard Peterson

When Twitter & Facebook won't let the American people read the Hunter Biden story posted by the NY Post newspaper then our rights as citizens to a "FREE PRESS" & Freedom of Speech have been squelched. And then the Fake News media & specifically Adam Schiff state this is an attempt at Russian disinformation. REALLY?? Not another Russian hoax!! It's Hunter Biden's laptop & his emails for crying out loud. The "big guy" needs to give the American people some solid, provable straight answers, leave the bs behind and come CLEAN with an honest appraisal of what was happening when he was VP and just how anything he did benefited the Biden family & specifically Hunter Biden!! How the Fake News media & social media billionaires have handled this SCANDAL is outrageous!

Howard Peterson

CNN will do "anything" for ratings......Just read the Jeffrey Toobin story & be prepared to die laughing or throwing up. Can't wait until Toobin tries to spin this story into "it was Trump's fault"..........

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