Last week I suggested the battle-scarred war horse Winston Peters should put himself out to pasture in the back paddock – particularly as yet another NZ First funding squall descends on the front paddock.
Winston's only 74 years young, but he's been a one-man cause célèbre virtually from the time he started politicking nearly half a century ago, not to mention initiating and carrying NZ First for 27 years. That's hard graft – no pun intended.
But as we know, Winnie's his own man. If he's not inclined to spend his sunset years culling the Whananaki snapper population, that's his business.
However, I did mention a range of aged-warrior exemplars, including Ronald Reagan, who was 78 by the time he finished his US presidency, albeit in a daze.
Now there's Bernie Sanders winding himself up for another tilt at the same office, but at the same age Reagan was exiting. You've either got to admire him, or be flabbergasted he reckons he's still got enough gas in the tank.
What's more, to his ineffable credit, Bernie has hung a sign around his neck proclaiming he's a democratic socialist.
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Now, in the Land of the Free, to admit you're in any way associated with this thing called socialism is red rag to a bull – no pun intended. A goodly chunk of Americans still equate this thing called socialism with another thing called communism.
A recent TV clip showed a network reporter interviewing a heartland family about their preferences for the coming presidential election.
A senior female had her doubts about Bernie because he's a socialist and, as everyone knows, socialism is only this far – at which point, frowning darkly, she brings her thumb and forefinger together separated only by a tissue paper gap – from being communism.
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Now the political historians need to seriously grill this woman, because it seems she has special knowledge of something that's never existed.
Despite loads of rhetoric and Marxist ravings about dialectical materialism and such, no so-called communist state has ever existed – just as pure capitalism has never existed.
Supposed communist states have only ever been various manifestations of totalitarianism, where a self-anointed few belabour the bejeezus out of the hapless majority in a "them and us" situation.
"Them and us" does not communism make. This is why China – despite its Big Brother Communist Party – is not a communist state but, in my opinion, just another totalitarian regime, albeit with recent concessions towards a "market" economy.
Then we have the apparent close cousin – socialism. Socialism is meant to be a sort of middle way, with a central government making certain decisions beyond the ken and ethics of a self-serving private sector on behalf of a wider social good.
This is the sensible path most contemporary nations follow, particularly those with a semblance of democratic political process.
Hence the more specific term that Bernie describes himself as – namely, democratic socialist. Public schools, health care, public roads, pensions, elective offices, subsidised employment, training and transport, an independent judiciary, welfare benefits, et al, are all by-products of democratic socialism.
Now, disapproving matriarchs notwithstanding, America is as steeped in democratic socialism as New Zealand and a host of other nations are, aligned with civilised market economics.
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For those Americans who remember, Franklin Delano Roosevelt still rates as an all-time great President, yet FDR with his New Deal politics had democratic socialism coming out of his ears.
But for many – despite probably being major recipients - democratic socialism pathetically remains the politics that dare not speak its name.
Communism, socialism, capitalism, etc – it's time all these now essentially meaningless Cold War type tags were ditched for good. People cling to such anachronisms like fanatical football club supporters.
The USA needs informed voters like never before.
It would be tragic for young Bernie to miss out on the Presidency simply because cadres of ignoramuses still think he and Nikita Khrushchev hatched from the same Fabergé egg.