Gov. Paul LePage has added a new pejorative to his vocabulary to insult his political opponents — “socialists.” He may as well call them “communists” as that association is clearly what he might like to indicate. In using “socialists” he refuses to apply the correct terminology “democratic-socialist,” while he and other members of his party continue to scold our president for not applying their favorite terminology to jihadists.

What is a democratic-socialist? Simply a believer in democracy who cares enough about his fellow human beings to provide a social programs net for the most needy individuals. Those programs include Social Security, veterans benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. Almost all countries, except a handful of dictatorships, are led by Democratic-Socialist parties.

As LePage uses the term “socialist” negatively, he obviously does so without realizing that in doing so he self-defines himself as the opposite to socialist. I consulted a listing of antonyms to find out what that might make him. Here is the list: fascist, capitalist, commercialist, militarist. An historical example would be the battle between German fascism and Russian socialism, two diametrically opposed systems.

A list of synonyms for “socialist” include: constitutional, equal, popular, friendly, egalitarian. Maybe it’s not so bad to be a democratic-socialist after all.

Paul W. Dutram

Waterville