Democratic Congresswoman Says She’s ‘Offended by Conversation about Socialism,’ Cheers Capitalism

By Zachary Stieber

A Democratic congresswoman who was born in Vietnam said that she’s offended by the growing support for socialism in the United States as all the top presidential contenders from her party champion a host of socialist ideas even as they reject the socialist label.

“I am offended by this whole conversation about socialism,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) said during a speech on April 2 in Washington, reported the Washington Examiner. “The idea that in the greatest democracy, the greatest capitalist system in the world, we’re having casual conversation about socialism, offends me.”

The declaration appeared to be a direct rebuttal of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) coming just days after her former staffer, Walid Shaheed, said that socialism is “not as fringe as you might think” and claimed that “what’s becoming fringe is if you call yourself a capitalist.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduces Green New Deall
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) hold a news conference for their proposed Green New Deal at the Capitol in Washington, on Feb. 7, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Ocasio-Cortez is among a growing contingent of Democrats openly embracing socialism, calling for proposals such as “Medicare for All,” that would eliminate private insurance, and the Green New Deal, a proposed restructuring of the economy that would give the government near total control over the energy industry that would cost an estimated $93 trillion.

Murphy, the first Vietnamese-American woman in Congress,  described mailing medicine, bandages, fabric, and other items to relatives still living in Vietnam because they don’t have enough basic necessities there.

She said that her opposition to socialism stems from her experience growing up in communist Vietnam before fleeing the country with her family.

“It is the system that built us the greatest nation and the greatest economy in the world. Sure, we have to fix the inequities that exist in our system. We have to make sure everybody, no matter what zip code they’re born in, has a fair shot,” Murphy told the crowd of about 150 attendees. “But it is not the moment to undo the whole system and embrace something that Americans have spent blood and treasure fighting to save other countries from.”

Ocasio-Cortez was directly criticized by a fellow Democrat, Giancarlo Sopo, in August 2018.

Sopo wrote in a USA Today op-ed titled “My family escaped socialism, now my fellow Democrats think we should move the party in its direction,” that his grandparents were prisoners in their home country of Cuba for 20 years under Castro for merely expressing a desire to return to the United States.

Cuban Americans celebrate upon hearing about the death of longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Fla., on Nov. 26, 2016. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite some people claiming that Democratic socialism is different than socialism and more akin to Nordic countries, socialist ideas in the United States are much closer to Cuba and Venezuela, Sopo argued.

“he ideological counterparts of America’s democratic socialists are likelier to be found to our south than in northern Europe. For instance, Cuba—where the state controls three-fourths of the economy, limits private-sector activity, and employs the majority of workers—is clearly more representative of DSA’s economic vision than Denmark, where 89 percent of the wealth is privately owned and seven out of 10 Danes work in the private sector,” he wrote.

“The descendants of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels should have no place in the party of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. Given its horrific record of human suffering, it would be a moral disgrace for Democrats to embrace socialism just to win elections, as some suggest. Those who use the blitheful ignorance of many for the political gain of a few deserve to lose. Indeed, if socialism represents the future of the Democratic Party, that’s a dystopia no American should want to be a part of.”