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February 7, 2016

Democratic Socialism—the New American Dream.

Flickr/Marcus Bain

America was once the land of opportunity.

It offered the promise that if we worked hard, we could own a home, send our children to college and save for our future. That was the America The Great Gatsby knew, but today only a select few know that America, a land of equal opportunity.

In today’s America, we need much more than a dollar and a dream. A college education offers the same opportunities high school education once provided, and those who graduate spend years trying to pay it off. Women earn just 75 cents on the dollar, and the minimum wage is not one you can live on. Healthcare is s luxury few can afford

We live in an America where the rich get richer. It is legal to hide money offshore where it cannot be taxed.

Pharmaceutical companies charge prices for drugs that only one in five Americans prescribed can afford. Health Insurance companies grow richer off premiums equal to 20% or more of payers earnings.

So when Bernie Sanders speaks of an America in which all can have equal access to health care, higher education and higher taxes, he is giving people hope. The promise that if we work, we will have our basic needs covered—is that so much to ask? It’s hardly the American Dream that so many of our forefathers came here looking for.

Yet, many ask how  Mr. Sanders promises to pay for these programs that give Americans equal rights. They view his Democratic socialism with skepticism and fear that government will take control of our basic needs. But is Bernie Sanders’ vision of Democratic Socialism the new American Dream?

Hilary Clinton speaks about spending decades on the front lines of change, but does she tell you that companies like Goldman Sachs pay her to speak. How can she stand in front of the American people with a straight face, and promise people—who cannot pay their bills, have no healthcare and still pay taxes—that she is going to do what it takes to end the avarice and illegal behavior on Wall Street, when they are the ones funding her campaign?

This race is about equality. Across the board from the taxes we pay, the wages we receive, the healthcare provided to us and the basic rights afforded to all. We live in a country where our constitution promises us equal rights, but we live in a country where our government represents the rights of an elite few.

How is it that the 20 wealthiest people have more money than half of our population, yet pay fewer taxes?

Why do our laws allow them to find loopholes that make it legal to hide money offshore, so they can pay less taxes and earn more?

Equality is the hope the new promise. We saw what happened in a land where given a dollar and a dream, we could have it all—some took it and others fell.

The concept Democratic Socialism gives us hope—it brings back the American Dream.

Sure, it may sound scary to some—for the elite few who are calling the shots, those on Wall Street—but the Democratic Socialism that Sanders speaks of is not about taking our rights away.

Rather, it will provide equal opportunity for all—that very American Dream we are all looking for.

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Author: Jane CoCo Cowles

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Marcus Bain

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Jane CoCo Cowles