Itís time to come out of the closet.

Iím voting socialist and I have been for 40 years.

And if you are voting today, so are you. Perhaps you havenít thought of it quite that way but thatís the way it is, and it took Joe the Plumber to drive it home. When government gets as big and as intrusive as ours is, all the lines have been blurred beyond recognition. But redistribution of wealth on the level we redistribute it is, if not classical socialism, certainly socialist.

Though I concede that I am voting socialist, I havenít decided yet if Iím voting Democratic Socialist or Republican Socialist. Iím leaning to Democratic Socialist for a couple of reasons.

First, the Democratic Socialist candidates acknowledge that it is a patriotic duty to pay taxes, that taxation in and of itself is a form of wealth redistribution and that it will be necessary to raise taxes to pay for the things that we expect government to provide. They just seem more upfront about calling taxes what they are, which is redistribution of wealth. The Republican Socialists, on the other hand, choose to call taxation something else. They havenít decided what to call it, but itís not patriotism and it certainly wonít be called socialism. ďPie in the skyĒ or perhaps ďevilĒ comes immediately to mind, but Limbaugh, Hannity and Company will concoct some sort of cinnamon-covered poisoned apple terminology that makes it sound like something other than what it really isÖ redistribution of wealth.

Secondly, Democratic Socialism at least implies that the redistribution will be from the top down. Republican Socialism redistributes from the bottom up. Hence, since I donít own a very, very large bank; a very, very large insurance company; a very very, large brokerage house; or a very, very large weapons company, itís less likely that any Republican Socialist programs would have me in mind. And once all those entities have been trickled up to, Iím afraid there wonít be much left to trickle down to the other 95 percent of us, which is where Iím at. I think there is at least a modest chance that Democratic Socialists will try to provide health care for those who donít have it, make more money available for student loans and have a more concrete definition of weapons of mass destruction than Republican Socialists have. One would hope the definition actually includes weapons.

Third, the very fact that the Republican Socialists have chosen to unveil the vitriolic ďSĒ word in the context they have is disgusting. Actually they let Joe the Plumber do it for them and then they jumped on the bandwagon forgetting itís best for ďthe pot not to call the kettle black.Ē Really, thereís hardly a nickelís worth of difference between Republican Socialism and Democratic Socialism because the need for cash to run excessively lengthy political campaigns overcomes any adherence to principal or ethical standards and the real money in that context can come from only those who have itÖ the 5 percent. One must concede however, that the apparent thirst for change, any kind of change, has prompted many to contribute to the Democratic Socialist cause in hopes that some kind of change will be an improvement on the eight years of Republican Socialism we have been enduring.

In summary, itís taken a while for the truth to see the light of day, but socialism is the grease that makes American capitalism work at least some of the time. Democratic Socialism just tends to throw an occasional bone to the 95 percent while Republican Socialism seeks to keep the bone in the upper 5 percent.

So whether you lean to Republican Socialism or Democratic Socialism, please do vote. It licenses you to voice your opinion for the next four years.

John Kliebenstein is circulation and operations manager of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Tuesdays. E-mail him at