Note: This was posted at my blog last summer but I just found out that there is platform talk in the air already. Maybe there’s still time to head them off before they do too much damage this time.
Two of our local delegates to this weekend's Maine Democratic Convention gave independent confirmation of their frustration over the same issue. The platform presentation was over long, divisive and futile. Granted they've both heard me lather on about party platforms but it was interesting that was the first nonsense they reported back to us about.
The only use I've ever seen a platform put to was for our opponents to smash us over the head with planks they'd pulled out of it. If a candidate tries to stand on a platform they fall off. Most of ours aren't that stupid anymore but they always have to deal in some way with the useless thing. I challenge anyone to come up with instances where platform planks have made a bit of difference in legislation adopted or lives improved. A direct link from the adopted plank to the signing by the executive to its being made real by implementation. In best platform form, include a footnote giving the length of the fight, the bad blood spilled over the struggle for every last splinter and the problems it created for the candidate. No group has ever lost a thing in real life if they weren't mentioned in the entirely unreadable resulting document.
Platform committees too often become the tiny, little piece of turf of people who have little to say, who say it at great length and who do little else. They fight like mad over that turf using the weapon of competitive scruples, a weapon whose only use is to commit political hari keri. Anyone showing these tendencies should be diverted into something else. They should be put in charge of refreshments or some other innocuous detail that could benefit from their fussy gifts. Not entertainment or continuity, however. They've already shown a talent for wasting time, they don't need any more chances to practice on the innocent.
I suppose we must have a platform since if it is entirely absent the Republicans will make that into a campaign issue. It should be as short as possible. It should be something our candidates can run with and not run into. And to avoid future time wasted on platforms that could be better used in actually winning the election, it should be something that will be the real focus of all our efforts until it is really implemented. How about this.
Democrats believe that all People have rights just because they are people. They have their rights no matter what race, gender, ethnic group, etc. People have a right to nutrition, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education. They have a right to an environment that will sustain life. They have a right to just pay for their work and an opportunity to have a good job. We believe that government's only legitimate purpose is to help People enjoy their rights. The Democratic Party is dedicated to finding ways to provide this opportunity to everyone, to making those ways into law and to the full implementation of those laws to make peoples' lives better. We believe so completely in democracy that we will peacefully promote its expansion to the entire human race so everyone can enjoy the blessings of freedom. When we have fulfilled these planks we can discuss secondary issues.
If anyone can find anything that the Republicans can use to defeat our candidates in that, please remove it immediately.