Best of C4O: Real Democrats. Real Platform. Real Change.

Dp3(Proudly cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

How many of you attended your local Platform for Change event(s)? I did… As well as a reporter from my own local paper and several dozen local Democrats. Oh yes, and so did one of our terrific local Democrats running for Congress.

But despite what you may think, there were no signs of “elitism” or “talking down”. If anything, we were all contributing our thoughts and ideas to our final proposed platform that will be presented to the DNC. Want to take a look?

Follow me after the flip for more…

Dp1There was a genuine diversity of thought on all the issues we discussed at our platform meetings. But in the end, we all seemed to share one common progressive vision of a better & stronger America. And if anything, that helped us all forumate a strong and coherent platform.

We all agreed that the Iraq occupation must end, but we each had different proposals on what our next foreign policy priorities should include. We all agreed on the principle of universal health care, but we all had ideas to add to the table on how to get there. We all agreed on the need to solve the climate crisis, but we all had something to say on what to do to solve it. And we all agreed that our economy needs fixing, but we all had something to add on what to do make the economy work for working people.

In a very democratic way, we all contributed. And in the end, we mostly reached a consensus on what we want the Democratic Party’s vision of the future should look like. I’m still amazed that our little group in Orange County, CA, came up with a strong, coherent, and smart platform advocating great policy.

I’ll leave you with our group’s platform in full:

Our meeting group met twice to discuss four subjects: the environment, healthcare, the economy, and international relations. Following an open discussion, each attendee completed a brief survey where they ranked the importance of issues and policies.

We believe our nation does not need a New Deal, we need a BETTER DEAL. Government waste is crippling the fiscal budget. Test-centric and bureaucratic education systems are contributing
to a decline in innovation, the catalyst for change and a key component of American values. Subsidies and tax breaks are no longer focused on job-producing sectors. Bureaucracies, grant programs, and policies are not evaluated for effectiveness. Often these programs lack specific goals from the onset.

The Better Deal must include:

TAX REFORMS: Tax incentives and subsidies must be directed to industries that are creating jobs and improving our environmental footprint. Tax incentives for the wealthy must be repealed. Agricultural subsidies must be overhauled and significantly reduced. Tax incentives for alternative energy, retrofits, and waste reduction should be considered for both individuals and corporations.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE THROUGH PUBLIC WORKS: Now more than ever our nation needs significant investment in our infrastructure to enable alternative energy. Moreover, the technology now exists for high-speed long distance trains as well as light-rail systems in suburban environments to reduce our dependency on the automobile. Now more than ever we need decent jobs, both problems can easily be solved with the Better Deal.

BUREAUCRACY REFORMS: Every federal grant, program, or administration must have clear goals and objectives and be closely evaluated against these goals to ensure effectiveness and reduce government waste. Antiquated cash-basis accounting must be replaced with accrual-basis accounting, and Performance Management Systems must be put in place.

EDUCATION, INNOVATION AND THE ECONOMY: Federal support of university-level research has declined, and graduating students are facing insurmountable debts. Our education system at all levels is not focused on innovation: on the contrary a test-based system has taken creativity out of the classroom. We need innovation to solve critical environmental problems and to keep our economy moving forward.

HEALTHCARE: Healthcare must be available, affordable, and cost-effective. Federal medical research should be increased, with the caveat that new treatments discovered with federal funding must have ‘public domain’ patents. Pharmaceutical patents must be reformed to
reduce the cost of medications. Patients must have the right of a second opinion from a doctor for every diagnosis and procedure, or every Diagnosing doctor should agree to not be the Treating doctor to avoid conflict-of-interest (the surgeon has monetary incentive to perform surgery). Technology must be advanced to eliminate the inefficiency and high cost of medical billing. Nurse Practitioner clinics should be encouraged as a low-cost way to treat minor ailments and injuries.

PARTNERING WITH THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY: Global warming is real. The crisis in Darfur is real. Third world countries around the world are in need of the American Peace Corps not just to aide in economic development but to share the American spirit and restore faith in the
American people. We must be ethical Global Citizens, and we must strengthen our relationship with the United Nations, NATO, and other international organizations dedicated to world peace and prosperity for all.