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Radical?

To the editor:

Are you content with the amount of money you earn? Do you enjoy paying for your health insurance and deductible? Are you satisfied with your experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles and Adirondack Park Agency? Do you enjoy paying your student loans? Do you feel like you get a good return for the taxes you pay? If you answered yes to all these questions, then congratulations! Your government is meeting your needs, and you should probably continue voting as you have been.

There has been a lot of fear about “socialists” taking over our town, and our country. I used to hold those same fears. When one of my friends told me they were a democratic socialist, my gut reaction was to roll my eyes and plug my ears, but this was my friend, so I asked questions instead. I listened to them and did some research on their policy agenda. It turns out I liked a lot of things they were saying: equality, education, health care, housing, climate action, employment opportunity. That sounds great, you might say … but who will pay for it? Wall Street, I say! Exxon Mobil, too!

Do you make less than $200,000 a year? Then you need not clutch your purse strings. We fear taxes because many of us are barely scraping by, but the scope of wealth at the top in this country is out of control. Eighty-three percent of the last tax cut went to the top 1% of Americans! Does Jeff Bezos deserve a reward for his hard work and vision? Sure. Is $195 billion a bit excessive? I think so.

I have never identified as a democratic socialist, but if believing in a government that serves the common citizen instead of the rich makes me one, then perhaps I am! I am not coming for your guns. (I own six.) I am not here to tax and regulate your small business (I own two), and I am not trying to tax you out of house and home. (I also own one of these.) I am not calling for more handouts or bailouts. I want opportunity for all people, and opportunity equals freedom.

Freedom to start a small business because you don’t have to worry about buying health insurance. Freedom to make a living wage and buy your own house. Freedom to start a family and not stress about health care, family leave, and child care. Freedom to go to college without the weight of student debt. Freedom of clean air and clean water. Freedom to know that a job awaits you if you want it. Some say these freedoms are radical; I say these freedoms are human rights.

We live in a democracy. We only get the government we deserve, and we only deserve the government that we dare to dream up. We need not fear any government based on a label, so long as we are involved and so long as we vote. Will you dare to open your mind to a brighter future?

Carter Rowley

Saranac Lake

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