Jesus of Nazareth was a “socialist” – centuries before the word existed. Let’s compare him with GOP candidate Donald Trump, an unapologetic, predatory, vulture, “capitalist.” Which one do you think would make a better leader for the American people?

What has Trump’s brand of “capitalism” brought America?

Trump is the poster boy for everything that is wrong when the GOP wishes to use the phrase “capitalism,” which actually was a positive term before the GOP manipulated its definition. Trump has made billions of dollars for himself, using other people’s money without risking his own wealth. He glorifies his cut-throat world in his reality show, The Apprentice. Despite Trump’s rhetoric  about sending jobs overseas, Trump’s clothing line – like virtually everything else – is made in China, Mexico and Bangladesh. In 2006, he purchased a historic estate in Scotland, where he had a monstrous golf resort created. When Trump purchased the property it included a delicate, 4000-year old ecosystem. Despite attempts by local authorities to block the development, Trump’s money ruled the day, and that sensitive habitat is gone forever.

For all his reputed business acumen, Trump has bankrupted numerous companies. Those bankruptcies cost thousands of jobs and his investors to lose their life savings – yet he has suffered no consequences himself. Donald Trump is what Robert Reich was talking about when he said: “In America, people with lots of money can easily avoid the consequences of bad bets and big losses by cashing out at the first sign of trouble.”

All the while, Trump and his “capitalist” friends tell the rest of us that we need to take “personal responsibility.”

Now, let’s look at Jesus, the Rabbi of Nazareth.

There are well over 2,000 passages in the Bible exhorting believers to take care of the “least among us.” The GOP loves citing the Bible as the ultimate word, and claiming that their superiority is blessed and God created. Well, what did Jesus say? The below quote from the Gospel of Matthew (25:31-46) certainly seems to make clear that Jesus must have been a “socialist.”

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.  Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?   And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing?   And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’  And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’  Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Thus, we come to the ultimate question. Do we want a “socialist” as a leader or a vulture “capitalist”?

The GOP is lambasting Bernie Sanders for being a “socialist”, as if that is a bad thing. They want us to run in fear trying to convince us that Bernie wishes to do away with private ownership, competition, profit, and the American dream. This is the furthest thing from the truth, and in no way reflects what Bernie believes. Bernie believes in all of this, but he also believes that the fortunate have an obligation to assist the less fortunate.

The truth is it is the GOP’s irrational fear that we will have a leader that has compassion for those less fortunate, those in need of a public education, those in need of medical care, those in need of a living wage, those in need of help when they were not born in a privileged environment. It is the GOP’s total narcissistic, greedy, arrogant view of the world that causes them to label anyone who is not heartless, ruthless and corrupt as a “socialist.”

So from the perspective of Ring of Fire, we will vote for a “socialist” like Bernie Sanders over the GOP vultures who call themselves “capitalist”; and if the GOP wishes to use their own language, then the question becomes, “Who Would Jesus Vote For?” or simply WWJVF.



K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.