The case for a simpler, values-driven Democratic Party platform

Jeremy Dumkrieger chairs the Woodbury County Democrats. -promoted by Laura Belin

In 2018, the Woodbury County Democrats approved the platform pasted below. It wasn’t perfect, but it was simple. It was intended to be. In fact, it could be simpler.

We wanted something we could put on a palm card to let folks know what we believe. Far too often we are bogged down by complicated rhetoric that serves only to obscure the direct message intended for everyday Iowans.

Soon the Iowa Democratic Party will host the Platform Committee’s work to finalize our state platform. I suggest they ignore specifics and finally see the bigger picture.

We are proud of our Democratic Party as the party of our nation’s heritage, accomplishments, and diversities. No part of that heritage is more valuable than our belief in the inclusion of ALL and commitment to ALL, with recognition of the rights and worth of each human being.

We, the People of the Democratic Party of Woodbury County, affirm the following:

We support the US Constitution, its amendments, and all our founding documents.

We support the right of all human beings to be treated fairly and equally under the law. We support the use of restorative justice. We oppose the racial and economic disparity in the criminal justice system. We support judicial discretion in the use of alternative interventions to promote healthy and safe communities.

We condemn all forms of discrimination. Whenever the rights of any citizens are threatened, the rights of all are endangered. We support all Iowans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of their physical or mental abilities, and regardless of their religious or nonreligious affiliation. We take seriously the obligation to preserve, protect, and secure basic constitutional and civil rights.

We support people who demand freedom, justice, and opportunity. We believe that anybody who has the right to vote and the desire to vote should have the opportunity to vote. We oppose barriers designed to deny citizens access to the democratic process.

We support our military and Veterans in war and in peace. We honor their service by supporting a strong VA that provides timely healthcare for all Veterans including all forms of mental health counseling.

We support individuals and families in their desire to become healthy, educated, and contributing citizens. We support their freedom to plan their family without interference from politicians. We support programs that enable families to grow and thrive.

We condemn the exploitation of working people. We support the right to organize, to achieve living wages with health and retirement benefits, and a safe workplace in both the private and public sectors. We believe that equal work deserves equal pay and that no one should face workplace discrimination or harassment.

We support local, independent Iowa farmers in their pursuit of prosperity and economic security as they ensure a strong and safe supply of food for the world.

We support our elders in their right to self-determination, dignity, income, and healthcare security.

We support parents, students, and educators in their quest to achieve high standards. We support free and open access to knowledge and information. We support a strong, stable, and lasting funding system to ensure that our public schools are properly funded. We oppose attempts to distort science and health education.

We support all people of the earth who are working for a clean environment. We support a responsible, prosperous, and sustainable existence with nature. We support clean water and acknowledge that climate change is real. We support the development of programs that protect the health of our planet.

We support economic diversification and the development of local businesses. We support a fair, clear, and transparent taxation system that provides a quality of life for ALL Iowans.

We support the strong hunting traditions of Iowa. We support common-sense reforms of gun regulations that balance public safety with those traditions.

We recognize that we will not get everything we want. Compromise is necessary when important values conflict and the priorities of different people are not the same. We believe that civil, transparent debate is the pathway to a civil society.

We believe in and will continue to work for a truly representative government that works for the good of ALL human beings in a compassionate, responsible, and progressive way that works to achieve peace, prosperity, and an outlook of confidence and hope.

  • Herb Strentz, Urbandale

    Proposed platform makes too much sense to be adopted, especially by those who come to platform committee meetings with proposals that promise to divide rather than unify, to scorn rather than to welcome independents or Republicans, to address personal peeves and not general concerns.

  • Harvest the Vote

    Jane Kleeb wrote something similar in her book “Harvest the Vote”. She discussed how the Kansas Democratic party had adopted a ‘”Rural Farmers and Communities Bill of Rights”, generally centered along the same lines as this platform above, but a little more specific.

  • Clarity is a virtue

    I don’t know what this sentence means, but it’s definitely not simple: “We support judicial discretion in the use of alternative interventions to promote healthy and safe communities.”.

  • I like this platform...

    …but would like to see a different phrase, maybe something like “healthy planet,” rather than “clean environment.” The latter phrase kind of makes the world sound like a giant bathroom. The people I know who are working on conservation issues don’t really talk about a “clean environment” anymore. Ironically, it’s partly a general Iowa obsession with having a tidy landscape that has caused our water, soil, and biodiversity problems.

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