I'm in D.C. keeping my wife company while she attends to business. Great fun having the time to wander freely about this great city taking in the sights. I've become pretty good at handling what Europeans call "the underground," whizzing under the city on the subway to get from one place to another.
Going underground is an apt metaphor for this, the final two weeks in the presidential campaign. With all the polls showing a pretty decent margin for an Obama win, the Right is digging down deeper and deeper into the mud trying to come up with something that will scare the bejesus out of the undecided voters. In the past week, they dug up the scary old term "socialist." I'm old enough to remember what they want us to remember--some vision of the Soviet Gulag and goose-stepping Russian soldiers marching through Red Square, or some welfare state where the government controls our lives and where all the lazy bums have cradle-to-grave security.
On the contrary, having lived in Europe for fourteen years, when I think of socialism as a real, working form of government, I see not the disaster and horrors of the Soviet system, but rather the stable, happy Scandinavian countries.
But forget the Swedes. For various reasons the Scandinavian system wouldn't work in the United States, and, in any event, I'm no Socialist. No, better here the rough and tumble, hurly-burly of capitalism with its, as my grandfather used to say, cycles of "boom and bust." The capitalist roller coaster is a better fit with the American personality. We are capitalism and capitalism is us. We just got busted, though, and, if we're going to continue to embrace the heady joy ride that is true capitalism, we're going to have to be willing to ride it out. So, my advice to the Right is to come up from underground, clean the mud from your slings, and get back on the roller coaster. Obama is no socialist, he just wants to install some safety features on the great ride that is America.
Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal (http://bit.ly/1mMT6ZC). The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/1j3axVk) and Crossquarter.com. Visit the author's website: douglasarvidson.com