If we begin with a clear statement of our values, it can be used as a handout at a local festival where we are registering new voters or incorporated as part of a brochure, leaflet or web site for local Democratic committees to use in recruiting new members. To declare the basis of our beliefs – who we are – I propose we adopt a one-page Statement of Values.
If we include a series of concise statements regarding what we seek to achieve based on those values in important priority areas like healthcare, education, etc they can serve as goal statements we are willing to be held accountable for when we ask for votes for our candidates. To be clear what we want to achieve – what we stand for – I propose we adopt platform planks that clearly establish and focus on the end results – the goals – we are willing to fight for.
Of course, it only matters if we can chart a course to actually achieve those goals and no platform process would be complete if we don’t discuss the specific policies necessary to do that. The challenge in a traditional platform format is that good Democrats may have different ideas on how best to achieve shared goals. Additionally, the circumstances and legislative status around many issues are fluid and changing. A once-every-four-years process is not flexible enough to adjust and remain relevant. To create a continuing process that encourages discussion, debate and organizing around the tactics and strategies to achieve our goals and to keep that process active after the platform is adopted, I propose we take the web-based format (created by BMG’s-own David Kravitz) where we are posting all testimony/input online and use it to encourage Democrats to organize their communities around what they believe and push our elected leaders to enact it.
There may be some who believe that a more traditional platform where we simply enact a list of things we want is preferable. What do you think?
John Walsh, Chair
Massachusetts Democratic Party