During the months leading up to the election several people ranted about socialism, claiming the country was headed that way or that this or that political candidate was a socialist.
We already partially live in a socialist country with public schools and public police and fire departments and Medicare and Social Security.
We also live in a country that embraces the free market and in which capitalism thrives.
As I write this, an approaching holiday should calm the fears of anyone worried about a socialist takeover. Capitalism is clearly part of our very foundation – not that it shouldn’t be – and we overwhelmingly show our support for it every Black Friday.
Nationwide, people hit the stores early, in the freezing cold, lining up at the doors hours before opening with folding chairs, blankets, food, coffee and even portable music and movie players, very likely purchased the previous Black Friday.
This year, in anticipation of ever increasing numbers and because of public demand, the stores are opening earlier. That should come as a relief to the individuals waiting, their breath white in front of them, with visions of LCD-TV’s and laptops and music players dancing in their heads.
I’ve always felt sad during Black Friday, because while some people simply want to accumulate more stuff, others are there because this is the only time of year they can afford a gigantic television. I am not judging, because I might be there too, except I usually cannot afford the super-cheap gigantic television.
Black Friday shows what people are willing to line up for hours for, and in that very act makes a statement about our priorities.
It should relieve anyone worried about a socialist or communist takeover. Capitalism and the free market are not going anywhere, and not that they should, and if Black Friday is any indicator, consumer culture’s place in society is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, safe.
Stephen Bartlett may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org