On Thursday afternoon, Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a speech outlining his campaign goals and addressing fully and completely why he is a Democratic Socialist.

Socialism has long been a dirty word in American politics, as anything that is considered bad by the Conservative party is often given the infamous label. With an openly Socialist candidate getting closer to the White House every day, it has become more and more important for Sen. Sanders to give the American public a reason to believe in a word they have long been taught to fear.

Sanders focused his argument on exposing the rampant inequality that exists in America today, drawing parallels to the post-depression-era America and the ways in which President Roosevelt created social programs that eventually lifted America from the depression and into a stable and prosperous nation.

“And he acted. Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty and restored their faith in government. He redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our country. He combatted cynicism, fear and despair. He reinvigorated democracy. He transformed the country.

And that is what we have to do today.

And, by the way, almost everything he proposed was called “socialist.” Social Security, which transformed life for the elderly in this country was “socialist.” The concept of the “minimum wage” was seen as a radical intrusion into the marketplace and was described as “socialist.” Unemployment insurance, abolishing child labor, the 40-hour work week, collective bargaining, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, and job programs that put millions of people to work were all described, in one way or another, as “socialist.” Yet, these programs have become the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class.”

You can read Senator Sanders’ full speech from Thursday here.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com