To: Mass Dems Platform Committee
From: Jesse Gordon,
(617) 320-6989 jesse@CambridgeDems.org
Re: PRINCIPLES VS. PLATFORM
I’m testifying in support of keeping the platform’s existing structure instead of a statement of general principles. I think having a document which lays out, specifically, the legislative agenda for the party is both important and necessary. It’s important to have specific planks on each issue likely to come up for legislation, so that legislators can know what the majority of the Democratic Party wants. And it’s necessary to have details so that we in the party can hold legislators accountable to the platform, as the party charter recommends.
A statement of general principles is a nice idea as an introduction to the party’s purpose. The Green Party has such a document, which they call their “Ten Key Values.” The difference between the Democratic Party and the Green Party is that we can focus on actual legislation. Hence we need legislative specifics, while all the Greens need is general principles.
If the Democratic Party wants to have a statement of general principles as an introduction to the platform, I wouldn’t object – sort of an “executive summary” for the voters. But following that, we need specifics on every topic and every subtopic that are likely to come up as legislation. The platform needs to include specifics and details in anticipation of Romeny and the Republicans coming up with ways to defeat our principles and values.
The voting public is not intimidated a long document. Mostly the voters don’t know that there is a such thing as the platform. When they do find out about it now, they are very impressed that the Democratic Party has the guts to lay out in great detail every policy issue that the voters care about. Let’s keep it that way.