A recent letter to the editor attacked Democrats and President Biden for trying to turn America into a socialist country. Here’s another perspective:

One of the ways Americans are divided politically is in their views of “socialism.”

Republicans view socialism as government control of society from controlling the means of production in the economy to controlling what people can think, say or do.

Democrats view socialism as a way of treating people more equally and of government helping make people’s lives better with such things as universal health care, improving policing methods and perhaps free tuition for college.

A Gallup poll article from October 2018 shows how Americans’ views of socialism have changed since the 1930s. It states, “Now, almost 70 years later, Americans' views of socialism have broadened. While many still view socialism as government control of the economy, as modified communism and as embodying restrictions on freedoms in several ways, an increased percentage see it as representing equality and government provision of benefits.

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These results make it clear that socialism is a broad concept that can – and is – understood in a variety of ways by Americans.

Republicans, who are overwhelmingly negative about socialism, tend to skew toward seeing socialism as government control of the economy and in derogatory terms, while Democrats, a majority of whom are positive about socialism, are more likely to view it as government provision of services.”

I grew up in a Nebraska Republican farm family who didn’t much care for government, but I benefited greatly from government social programs. My biological father was killed in an Army Air Force plane crash before I was born and, because of that, my mother, who remarried, received government payments for me for 18 years.

Without that help, I never would have been able to go to college or to medical school.

As a doctor in Park Rapids, many of my patients got their health care funding through Medicare and Medicaid and now that I’m retired, part of my income is from Social Security.

So one could say I’ve been on the government dole all my life. For this, I’m grateful and think I’ve repaid some of this via work and taxes.

The preamble to the Constitution says that one of the goals of the government should be to “promote the general welfare.”

I don’t believe in socialism as being total government control of society but, rather, as a way to help people live better. I’d like to see universal health care and also tuition help for post secondary students. I think people should be treated equally no matter what their skin color is. I like government programs that help ensure clean water, food, air, good roads and bridges, police and fire protection, a great recycling center and good education.

As someone who has a retirement portfolio with stocks and bonds, I like capitalism and its benefits, but I’d like more government and business emphasis on reducing fossil fuel use, promoting clean energy to mitigate climate change and keeping America energy independent.

I think wealthy individuals and companies should pay their fair share in taxes.

So I guess I’m a Democratic socialist and will just have to bear with Republican criticism of this. So be it.