The reasons being that: 1. I’m 25 and was born three weeks too late to vote in the November 2000 election. But, if I could have voted, it would have been for Ralph Nader; 2. I interned with Howard Dean’s campaign in New Hampshire in summer ’03 and could not bring myself to vote for pro-war John Kerry in November ’04. Instead, I cast my vote for David Cobb of the Green Party.
After Kerry lost, I was ready to completely abandon the Democrats for the Greens. I was sick of Democrats running as DLC-style, tepid, centrist candidates and still losing to Republicans. But then Deval Patrick came along and restored my faith that our party could actually be transformational, idealistic, and unifying. He won the governor’s race over the incumbent lieutenant governor by 20 points.
I’m a frustrated Democrat, looking for more Deval Patricks and Russ Feingolds out there. But, I do see some potential.
With all the attention in political circles focused on the presidential horserace (including me!), I’ve tried to take a moment to sketch out what top issues I wish the next Democratic president would focus on, whoever he or she may be… This is a very general list of four main areas, with a few important policies/ideas that I support listed under them.
I’d also like to hear what others would like to see in a bold, 21st century Democratic platform.
1. Civil Liberties and Personal Freedom: restoring habeus corpus, ending warrantless wiretapping and surveillancing, scrapping the Patriot Act, allowing medical marijuana, decriminalizing marijuana, ending/reforming the Drug War, breaking up and reforming the prison-industrial complex
2. Sustainable Environmental Policy: joining the Kyoto Treaty (and whatever treaty or goals/guidelines that emerged from the recent Bali conference and those to come), provide generous tax breaks and possible subsidies for new companies developing alternative energy, set CAFE standards at 40 mph or higher very soon, not allow the construction of any new nuclear power plants
3. Peace and Human Rights-Focused Foreign Policy: cut defense spending by at least 15-20%, reform the defense-contracting process, work closely with the Russians to destroy our nuclear weapon supply and work on a long-term plan with other nations toward nuclear abolition, increase spending on United Nations and play a more active role in strengthening it, expand UN Security Council to more countries, close Guantanamo, end the practice of extraordinary rendition, demand a global arms trade treaty, join the International Criminal Court
4. Decentralization of Power & Social Justice: create progressive social service programs such as universal health care, universal day care, mixed-income affordable housing, green public-sector jobs, etc. and administer them at the state and local levels so that Americans feel more connected to their government, free college and graduate/professional education for all, double the funding of state and community colleges, restore local control of education and provide at least double the federal funding for schools
This is just a few issues. Of course, there are many more I could list. But, these four main themes are what I’d like the Democratic Party to stand for in the coming years.
What do you think?