Monday, July 28, 2008

Real Democrats. Real Platform. Real Change.


(Proudly cross-posted at Democratic PartyBuilder & MyDD)

How many of you attended your local Platform for Change event(s)? I did... As well as a reporter from my own local paper and several dozen local Democrats. Oh yes, and so did one of our terrific local Democrats running for Congress.

But despite what you may think, there were no signs of "elitism" or "talking down". If anything, we were all contributing our thoughts and ideas to our final proposed platform that will be presented to the DNC. Want to take a look?


There was a genuine diversity of thought on all the issues we discussed at our platform meetings. But in the end, we all seemed to share one common progressive vision of a better & stronger America. And if anything, that helped us all forumate a strong and coherent platform.

We all agreed that the Iraq occupation must end, but we each had different proposals on what our next foreign policy priorities should include. We all agreed on the principle of universal health care, but we all had ideas to add to the table on how to get there. We all agreed on the need to solve the climate crisis, but we all had something to say on what to do to solve it. And we all agreed that our economy needs fixing, but we all had something to add on what to do make the economy work for working people.

In a very democratic way, we all contributed. And in the end, we mostly reached a consensus on what we want the Democratic Party's vision of the future should look like. I'm still amazed that our little group in Orange County, CA, came up with a strong, coherent, and smart platform advocating great policy.

I'll leave you with our group's platform in full:

Our meeting group met twice to discuss four subjects: the environment,
healthcare, the economy, and international relations. Following an open
discussion, each attendee completed a brief survey where they ranked the
importance of issues and policies.

We believe our nation does
not need a New Deal, we need a BETTER DEAL. Government waste is crippling the
fiscal budget. Test-centric and bureaucratic education systems are contributing
to a decline in innovation, the catalyst for change and a key component of
American values. Subsidies and tax breaks are no longer focused on job-producing
sectors. Bureaucracies, grant programs, and policies are not evaluated for
effectiveness. Often these programs lack specific goals from the

The Better Deal must include:

incentives and subsidies must be directed to industries that are creating jobs
and improving our environmental footprint. Tax incentives for the wealthy must
be repealed. Agricultural subsidies must be overhauled and significantly
reduced. Tax incentives for alternative energy, retrofits, and waste reduction
should be considered for both individuals and corporations.

INDEPENDENCE THROUGH PUBLIC WORKS: Now more than ever our nation needs
significant investment in our infrastructure to enable alternative energy.
Moreover, the technology now exists for high-speed long distance trains as well
as light-rail systems in suburban environments to reduce our dependency on the
automobile. Now more than ever we need decent jobs, both problems can easily be
solved with the Better Deal.

grant, program, or administration must have clear goals and objectives and be
closely evaluated against these goals to ensure effectiveness and reduce
government waste. Antiquated cash-basis accounting must be replaced with
accrual-basis accounting, and Performance Management Systems must be put in

university-level research has declined, and graduating students are facing
insurmountable debts. Our education system at all levels is not focused on
innovation: on the contrary a test-based system has taken creativity out of the
classroom. We need innovation to solve critical environmental problems and to
keep our economy moving forward.

HEALTHCARE: Healthcare must be
available, affordable, and cost-effective. Federal medical research should be
increased, with the caveat that new treatments discovered with federal funding
must have 'public domain' patents. Pharmaceutical patents must be reformed to
reduce the cost of medications. Patients must have the right of a second opinion
from a doctor for every diagnosis and procedure, or every Diagnosing doctor
should agree to not be the Treating doctor to avoid conflict-of-interest (the
surgeon has monetary incentive to perform surgery). Technology must be advanced
to eliminate the inefficiency and high cost of medical billing. Nurse
Practitioner clinics should be encouraged as a low-cost way to treat minor
ailments and injuries.

Global warming is real. The crisis in Darfur is real. Third world countries
around the world are in need of the American Peace Corps not just to aide in
economic development but to share the American spirit and restore faith in the
American people. We must be ethical Global Citizens, and we must strengthen our
relationship with the United Nations, NATO, and other international
organizations dedicated to world peace and prosperity for all.





Anonymous said...

I wish I had made it back in time to participate. Sounds like it was a good experience.

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