| June 6, 2012

Socialist receives nation’s highest civilian honor

According to Heritage Foundation reporter Lachlan Markay, President Obama last week awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to 82-year-old labor activist Dolores Huerta. “Huerta is also an honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. DSA describes itself as ‘the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International.’”

Interestingly, the president noted that

Dolores was very gracious when I told her I had stolen her slogan, “Si, se puede.” Yes, we can. (Laughter.) Knowing her, I’m pleased that she let me off easy—(laughter)—because Dolores does not play. (Laughter.)

Now some of us happen to think that, given its bitter fruits (poverty, tyranny, and millions of lives sacrificed around the globe), socialism is no laughing matter. But Mr. Obama has long been comfortable with this failed ideology. Fifteen years ago he spoke at a panel discussion sponsored by the University of Chicago Democrats, the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and the University of Chicago DSA. According to a Chicago DSA report of his remarks, he said state policymakers should be pressing for things like equality in education funding, an expanded welfare system (including health care, daycare, and job training), and wealth redistribution. An analyst at the progressive Oklahoma Policy Institute, untroubled by the notion of Mr. Obama addressing the Democratic Socialists of America, argued on Twitter that “‘democratic’ & socialism is as embedded in Amer. political development as conservatism.”

Not all of our friends on the left are socialists, of course, and many of them resent the label. But when a left-wing magazine names a socialist as America’s most influential “progressive,” and when the Socialist Worker takes a dim view of OCPA staffers and others who defend free enterprise, and when the president bestows the nation’s highest civilian honor on a proud socialist—well, it’s clear that now is no time to retreat in the battle of ideas.

Brandon Dutcher can be reached at or

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