Politics, People’s Lives, and the Democratic Platform for Change

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Back in 2008, Candidate Barack Obama, invited average American Citizens, to provide their thoughts, on what should be INCLUDED in the ‘New’ Democratic Platform for Change.

Here is one such reply, that made it to the ‘final draft’:

Citizen Statement – (pg 10)

“I worked for a manufacturer for over fifteen years. My wages stayed the same for six years as I found myself paying more and more for health care. Co-pays went up, deductibles went up.

In late 2006, the company sent my production job to Mexico and China and I was laid off.  I could not afford COBRA premiums.  I am two years away from Medicare and unemployed and on the ‘faith based’ health care system — meaning I just pray I don’t get sick.  

Oh yeah, and I’m a cancer survivor and I haven’t done the yearly checkup in 3 years.”

— Listening to America – National Hearing

Renewing America’s PromiseThe 2008 Democratic National Platform

Such is the America Dream as of 2008.

Back in 2008, The Promise of Change, was almost ELECTRIC!

YOU TOO — can be a force for Change!

The Internet holds the promise of Empowering ALL the People — as Barack Obama knew well.  Here is the Page that was turned then, from that Campaign Journal:

Listening to America:

The Democratic Platform for Change

You can write the next chapter in the history of the Democratic Party.


Every four years, the Democratic Party assembles a platform that outlines the party’s position on a variety of issues. Traditionally, the platform is written by paid professionals and then presented to the American people.

This year, that’s going to change.

From Saturday, July 19th to Sunday, July 27th, everyday people all across America will hold Platform Meetings in their homes, or in their local churches and even coffee shops, to help build the Democratic Party’s platform for change from the bottom up.



That WAS a Great Idea — too bad that ‘Door of Opportunity’ for the People to be Heard, was Opened for ONLY a week

I mean REALLY Heard — yes, I know about the various White House email addresses — and I use them frequently.  But that e-feedback route, always strikes me as a ‘Placebo for Action’, instead an actual Avenue for Change.

Such email addresses, tend to be the place, where the Good Ideas of Citizens, go to die. Likewise, similar Citizen-response Phone Numbers, are where the Desperate Pleads of the American People, reach out to badger an underpaid public clerk, who dutifully put a hash-mark in a PRO or CON column, on a crumpled List. … From a unending stack of such crumpled Lists. … Meanwhile that Phone, keeps ringing.


Yes, some of those ‘Desperate Pleads’ of the Middle Class Workers WERE heard — back in July of 2008. And yes some of those sentiments even made it into the ‘revised’ Democratic Platform for Change.

Well, like I always say, “It’s good to have goals — you rarely get anywhere, without them!

Here are a few of those ‘Good Ideas’, that bubbled up into such Democratic Platform Goals:

Good Jobs with Good Pay – (pg 14)

In the platform hearings, Americans expressed dismay that people who are willing to study and work cannot get a job that pays enough to live on in the current economy. Democrats are committed to an economic policy that produces good jobs with good pay and benefits.  That is why we support the right to organize. We know that when unions are allowed to do their job of making sure that workers get their fair share, they pull people out of poverty and create a stronger middle class. We will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions and fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.


In America, if someone is willing to work, he or she should be able to make ends meet and have the opportunity to prosper. To that end, we will raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit so that workers can support themselves and their families. We will modernize the unemployment insurance program to close gaps and extend benefits to the workers who now fall outside it.


Renewing America’s PromiseThe 2008 Democratic National Platform

Work and Family – (pg 15)

Over the last few decades, fundamental changes in the way we work and live have trapped too many American families between an economy that’s gone global and a government that’s gone AWOL. It’s time we stop just talking about family values, and start pursuing policies that truly value families.

Renewing America’s PromiseThe 2008 Democratic National Platform

We all seen it, back then. The Hope. The Vision. The Determination.

The sense that everything was about to change, IF ONLY we could win back the White House … IF ONLY we could get 60 Votes in the Senate … well, THEN we’d show em!

And much of that spirit of Hope was captured, quite elegantly, in the Preamble of The 2008 Democratic National Platform, too:

Preamble  – (pg 5-7)

We come together at a defining moment in the history of our nation — the nation that led the 20th century, built a thriving middle class, defeated fascism and communism, and provided bountiful opportunity to many. We Democrats have a special commitment to this promise of America. We believe that every American, whatever their background or station in life, should have the chance to get a good education, to work at a good job with good wages, to raise and provide for a family, to live in safe surroundings, and to retire with dignity and security.  

We believe that quality and affordable health care is a basic right.  We believe that each succeeding generation should have the opportunity, through hard work, service and sacrifice, to enjoy a brighter future than the last.  

But today, we are at a crossroads. As we meet, we are in the sixth year of a two-front war. Our economy is struggling. Our planet is in peril.  

A great nation now demands that its leaders abandon the politics of partisan division and find creative solutions to promote the common good. A people that prizes candor, accountability, and fairness insists that a government of the people must level with them and champion the interests of all American families.  A land of historic resourcefulness has lost its patience with elected officials who have failed to lead.

It is time for a change. We can do better.  And so, Democrats — through the most open platform process in history — are reaching out today to Republicans, Independents, and all Americans who hunger for a new direction a reason to hope. Today, at a defining moment in our history, the Democratic Party resolves to renew America’s promise.  


The American Dream is at risk.  Incomes are down and foreclosures are up.  Millions of our fellow citizens have no health insurance while families working longer hours are pressed for time to care for their children and aging parents.  Gas and home heating costs are squeezing seniors and working families alike.


They promised fiscal responsibility but instead gave tax cuts to the wealthy few and squandered almost a trillion dollars in Iraq. They promised reform but allowed the oil companies to write our energy agenda and the credit card companies to write the bankruptcy rules.  

These are not just policy failures. They are failures of a broken politics — a politics that rewards self-interest over the common interest and the short-term over the long-term, that puts our government at the service of the powerful. A politics that creates a state-of-the-art system for doling out favors and shuts out the voice of the American people.  


This is the essence of what it means to be a patriot: not only to declare our love of this nation, but to show it — by our deeds, our priorities, and the commitments we keep.  

If we choose to change, just imagine what we can do. What makes America great has never been its perfection, but the belief that it can be made better.  And that people who love this country can change it.  This is the country of Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Rosa Parks — people who had the audacity to believe that their country could be a better place, and the courage to work to make it so.  And this Party has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we summoned the entire nation to a common purpose.

Beautiful Words. Important Goals. … and a strong sense of ‘common purpose’.

All hope-challenged Americans, should dare to ask now:  What is our ‘common purpose’?  

SO many Promises, so many implied covenants with American People — to DO OUR Business — yes, that IS WHAT the Democratic Party, is SUPPOSE to be ALL about.

Where did that spirit of Hope and Determination go — What happens to the urgency for Social Justice, in the aftermath of decisive Electoral Victories?

Where are the ‘Champions for the People’, now?

… now that all the Conference Committees players, must Put up or Shut up.

Where are the Politicians willing to put the People Interests above their own personal Re-Election Interests?

Where are the Democrats, who really Stand Up for Progressive Principles — purely because it is the ‘Right Thing’ to Do?

… or are such “Principled Goals” simply nice, quaint things, you say to get elected — BUT No One really expects you to ENACT them in Real Life?

Afterall — WE HAVE TO think of the poor Insurance Companies. WE ARE COMPELLED to take pity on the Wall Street Bankers — who just made a few ‘careless mistakes’ … but who will now straighten up and fly right.

Who is really LISTENING to the ‘Average American’, NOW — now that they have pocketed Our Votes — and the nitty, gritty Business of Government Legislating needs to be done?

Well here is another one of those SO MANY ‘Desperate Pleas’, that happened to somehow make it into a “sidebar” of The 2008 Democratic National Platform:

Citizen Statement (pg 14)

My husband and I are just squeaking by.  We both have good jobs.  We make decent money, not great.  

But we never expected this to happen.  Our pays just don’t make it, and we’re the middle class.

Politicians keep talking, but I just don’t think they know how it feels if you’re choosing between gas and groceries.  I watch the news at night, and there’s often tips on TV on how to save.  Conserve gas.  Don’t eat out.  Don’t buy coffees or lattes.  I already don’t do these things.

This election matters a lot to me. I really try and make sure I make the right decision this year.  I am a registered Independent, and I am supporting Senator Obama.  We simply cannot go another year with Republican leadership.  I don’t see how anything the Republicans are doing right now is helping the middle class at all.”

— Pittsburgh area, PA — Listening to America — National Hearing  

The Urgent Middle Class “Squeeze” — Exhibit 1:

Link to OMB Chart (pdf)

Link White House OMB Site

I wonder how that “Rust Belt” family feels now?  A year later, with the Status Quo, clearly very much in charge?  I wonder if THEY have seen a Bailout on their ‘Main Street’ yet?

Or is the Middle Class — destined to suffer stagnant Wages and disappearing Opportunities — while of the Price of Everything we need to live a Quality Life, just continues to go Up and Up?

The Urgent Middle Class “Squeeze” — Exhibit 2:

After a year of horse-trading, has the Democratic House, and the Democratic Senate, and the Democratic Administration — stepped up to address these oh-so ‘common concerns’ of the struggling Middle Class?

Or is it just “more of the same” — just a kindlier, gentler version of it? … with vague promises to get around to it, SOMEDAY.

“More of the Same”

More of those Legislative Compromises, to appease Corporate Lobbyists.

More of Billion-Dollar-Bankers getting EXACTLY what they want — INSTANTLY!

More of the pathetic Rationalizations that let Status-Quo Politicians, Do the Business of their ‘Special Interests’, while ignoring the desperate Interests of the American People, as SOMEONE ELSE’S Problems!

And, I wonder if that Citizen from this Diary’s intro quote, the one who’s

“a cancer survivor and I haven’t done the yearly checkup in 3 years”

I wonder how THEY FEEL about waiting until 2013, before THEIR Government “decides” to help them? … to lend them a Hand, in their ‘little’ Struggle for Life or Death.


I wonder how THEY FEEL about being treated — just like, a Cold, Clinical STATISTIC?

Is this really the BEST the Democratic Party — the Party of the People CAN DO?

Are we really Building a stable & secure Platform, for Average Americans to make it, from Here to the Future?

For ALL Americans?  Even the weakest among us?

‘Settling’ and ‘Incremental Change’, should NOT the part of the Vocabulary of HOPE … NOT if that Hope is indeed — Audacious!

‘Kicking the Can Down the Road’, NO matter which side of the aisle does it (or even if an “Independent” Wantabee does it) — that type of Rationalization, simply tells you, in a very real way, just WHERE the Interests of the American People, rate on that ever-sliding-scale of ‘Politics as Usual’ in Washington D.C.

     Time, like Opportunity, waits for No One.

We need some common goals, some common purposes.  

We desperately NEED some People-first Policies, that REALLY WILL inspire Hope and Renewal, on SO many American Main Streets!

Without such IMMEDIATE and REAL Hope to “provide a Bridge” between our struggling Middle Class, and our uncertain Future —

Without such Hope, the “American Dream” is destined, to become just a Footnote in some History Book. … assuming Middle Class History doesn’t get written out of the picture, by Society’s ultimate Corporate Owners.

It is truly amazing, after all this citizen-based change of the last few years, the Special Interests are STILL Winning … (winning Every Loophole, that they can manage to pay for) … such is the American Way, and probably, such, it shall always, be …


‘The Powers that Be’ — are such, for some VERY good Reason$$$

And Those Reasons, ALWAYS roll Downhill. … such is the American Way, despite however infrequently, they choose to ask for OUR Opinions … and for OUR Votes …


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on October 31, 2009 at 23:38

    and for another ‘important Platform footnote Goal:

    Smart, Strong, and Fair Trade Policies – (pg 26-27)

    We believe that trade should strengthen the American economy and create more American jobs, while also laying a foundation for democratic, equitable, and sustainable growth around the world


    We need tougher negotiators on our side of the table-to strike bargains that are good not just for Wall Street, but also for Main Street. We will negotiate bilateral trade agreements that open markets to U.S. exports and include enforceable international labor and environmental standards;


    We will work with Canada and Mexico to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement so that it works better for all three North American countries.


    Just as important, we will invest in a world-class infrastructure, skilled workforce, and cutting-edge technology so that we can compete successfully on high-value-added products, not sweatshop wages and conditions. We will end tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas, and provide incentives for companies that keep and maintain good jobs here in the United States. We will also provide access to affordable health insurance and enhance retirement security,


    The United States should renew its own commitment to respect for workers’ fundamental human rights

    Renewing America’s PromiseThe 2008 Democratic National Platform

    • Edger on November 1, 2009 at 01:04

    How about a law against campaign ads for re-election that discuss or advertise anything but previous term record?

    Or better yet how about if people start voting in re-election bids only for results produced instead of for shiny promises?

    • jamess on November 1, 2009 at 19:59

    of this diary,

    from a flip-side point of view,

    with the hopes, of getting people to actually read

    the Democratic Platform:

    Government of, by, and for The People — a 2-way Street


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