Dear Action Dude, I'm going to start getting my Social Security this fall. Am I going to be considered a socialist? If so, should I send it back? - Durango Retiree
Ahem. That's Action Line to you.
Don't you aging hippie boomers have any respect for us youngsters who are actually paying for your golden years?
Be that as it may, you posed an intriguing philosophical question. So Action Line contacted the folks at the Socialist Party USA.
Billy Wharton is the editor of The Socialist, the monthly magazine of the party. He extended his warmest congratulations to you on reaching retirement age and provided a quick history of the federally administered program.
"Social Security was created in 1935 in response to demands made by working-class movements during the Great Depression that were led by socialists and communists," he said via e-mail from his office in the Bronx, N.Y.
"These campaigners recognized that wealth should be redistributed in a universal way in order to ensure a basic standard of human decency," the Socialist Party spokesman said.
"In this sense, Social Security is a good example of an efficient socialist program - it is universal, it redistributes wealth and it creates social guarantees," Wharton points out.
"As for you being a socialist, this is another story," he said.
"Democratic socialism is about free choice and free association. Just because you benefit from a program with socialist values does not mean that you yourself are a socialist. That is a decision for you to make as an individual."
So there you have it - a nonjudgmental and logical explanation that embraces freedom and personal choice.
Boy, is this going to make some people really mad.
Oh, the outrage! Socialists making sense, being reasonable and supporting freedom. That's just plain wrong.
Fringe political parties are supposed to be shrill, controlling, dogmatic and bitter - in other words, like today's Republicans.
Anyway, let's forget about labels.
When Mrs. Action Line eats Quaker Oats, it doesn't mean she's a Quaker, even though there is nothing wrong with being a Quaker.
Go ahead. Deposit that Social Security check, and then stimulate the economy by going on a shopping spree.
By spending your redistributed wealth from a socialism-based program, you are supporting capitalism through consumerism in our democratic republic.
The current city logo is a train with mountains in the background. Is there any truth to the rumor that the city is changing its logo to feature traffic cones, construction barrels and caution tape? - Tim
Though the Durango Police have changed the logo on its new cruisers, the city itself has no plans to ditch its emblem.
But should the city modify its logo, it ought to be constructed of fleece, lycra and wrinkled Carhart material, with numerous stains from spilled microbrews and bike grease.
It should have a slightly entitled, snooty but likable feeling. It should cost too much but not be well maintained.
Oh, and dog hair. The new logo should be covered in dog hair - and it should be late to every meeting. And play bluegrass music incessantly. And drive a dirty vehicle with four-wheel drive.
The city's new tagline? "It's all good, man."
Last week's edition misidentified the author of "This Bridge is Your Bridge, This Bridge is My Bridge."
The writer wasn't Dan Brown. It was Dave Brown. D'oh!
Dave kindly wrote: "Thanks for including my bridge parody song, but the name is...Dave... Dave Brown. Martinis shaken, not stirred."
The same day, a confused Dan Brown wrote in:
"Are there three Dan Browns? The author of The Da Vinci Code; myself, author of nothing; and Dan Brown, author of the Bridge to Nowhere song in today's column?"
Action Line is red-faced over this Brown mistake that appeared in black and white.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you promise never to forget what's-his-face.