Washington State Dems Build Bold Platform

Washington State Dems Build Bold Platform
Posted by FoM on June 29, 2000 at 09:06:34 PT
Columnist: John Nichols
Source: The Capital Time  
Tommy Thompson is busy cobbling together the Republican Party platform on which his pal George W. Bush will seek the presidency this fall. While this exciting task has taken Wisconsin's gallivanting governor to hot spots like Billings and Dayton, it hasn't taken him outside the box.So far, the "ideas'' that have been pitched at the platform hearings have been about as predictable as those advanced in the platform-drafting circles of the Democratic Party. 
Indeed, the once adventurous process of platform writing has become such a cautious endeavor that even the candidates dismiss the documents; remember the 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole's proud announcement that he didn't even plan to peruse his party's official agenda, let alone campaign on its tenets?Perhaps Thompson and his Democratic counterparts should take a cue from the authors of the new platform of Washington state's Democratic Party. Delegates to the party's mid-June convention were in a rambunctious mood -- as an example, they booed Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, a prospective Democratic vice presidential pick, for his nuclear policies. And they drew up a campaign canon that made news.Big news, as it turns out. "Democrats take big step to left in their platform,'' announced the headline in the Seattle Times.In addition to affirming that "food, shelter, medical care, education and jobs are basic human rights,'' the delegates declared that they "oppose all discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, military service, insurance, licensing or education based on race, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, size, political affiliation, and/or national origin.''They came out for "the creation of a single, universal, publicly funded, accountable Washington state health care system including prenatal and preventive care, hospital and ambulatory care, prescription drugs, vision and hearing care, substance-abuse counseling and treatment, and funding for confidential family planning and reproductive choice.''The delegates backed complete separation of church and state, condemned "any law, regulation or government action restricting legal rights and private matters regarding one's reproductive functions,'' and stated that "because marriage is a basic human right and individual personal choice, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of civil marriage.''In the criminal justice section of the platform, the delegates declared, "Prevention of crime is as important as reaction to crime. We believe that government has the responsibility to help alleviate the social conditions which contribute to crime.'' Of course, they opposed capital punishment -- this is a civilized state, not Texas.It was actually in the area of drug policy that the Washington state Democrats really pushed the limits of contemporary politicking. "We believe drug use to be a concern for the medical community, not a criminal issue,'' they declared, going on to state their full support for decriminalization of marijuana.A resolution adopted by a close vote of the convention went even further, proposing that legalized marijuana be sold through cafes, bars and state liquor stores with the tax money raised from the sales "spent in the fulfillment of health and human needs.''Radical? Maybe. But no more radical than the reforms ordinary people talk about all the time. And, say Washington state Democrats, they're betting that by standing for positions that are controversial rather than cautious, they'll draw thousands of disengaged citizens back to the polls. Says Party Chairman Paul Berendt, the best way to get people to the polls is to give them a platform designed to "get people fired up.''John Nichols is the editorial page editor of The Capital Times.E-mail: tctvoice madison.comContact The Staff: Frank S. WorldDrug Policy Forum of Wisconsin June 29, 2000 2000 The Capital TimesRelated Articles & Web Sites:Democrats' Pot Plan Governors to Push Agenda on Hopefuls Trade Ideas At Summit CannabisNews Justice Archives:
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on June 30, 2000 at 06:27:14 PT:
No, it's the demographics that are a-changin'
To put it bluntly, the old f**ks are dying off. And with them, their benighted position on cannabis. What you have seen over the last ten years is the rise of the late Boomers who've 'had it' with the same old, same old. They're starting to make their own way, with their own ideas, and have run out of patience with the dinosaurs that have run party politics for so long. (And it helps that they are more affluent, of course.) They know that when the dinosaurs speak, most of their own crowd simply yawn. They at first might have supported Klinton, but when they realized he's just a watering boy for the Old Guard, they've decided to take matters into their own hands. (And Gore better watch it; he can't afford to take the Western States for granted. There's an enormous amount of wealth in the hands of those late Boomers, and they're sick of the old ways of doing things.)The Dems may be the first of the Old Parties to realize the inherent danger of having alienated so many of the electorate with their cookie cutter, 'me-too' support of the Reps' ferocious WoSD. (Two questions, and no one need answer me, just think about it: how many Libertarians smoke weed? For that matter, how many just plain 'independants' smoke weed? See my point?) By this de facto shutting out of so many people (70 million of us are 'criminals' because of the WoSD; do you think of yourself as such?) the Dems have lost so much in these last 20 years that they are on the verge of de facto extinction. It's either find new blood... or die. (i.e. that's why they are so arduously courting the Hispanic vote) And for once, they are able to read the writing on the wall.So, despite the ribbing Washington State Democrats have taken in the media, look for other States to start making similar, baby steps towards a more rational policy by coveting the cannabis vote.We really *are* the future; those of us who haven't been caught are still working, still paying our taxes, still contributing to charities, still supporting our churches... still supporting the very government intent on pauperizing us. And whereby pauperizing itself. When it finally wakes up to the fact it is holding a straight razor to its' own throat by threatening 70 million of us, they'll start backing off. Washington State is the begnning.
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Comment #1 posted by future on June 29, 2000 at 23:15:45 PT
And it begins......
The democrats are definately ahead of the game....they times they are a changin'
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