TheÂ Democratic Party Platform, was approved July, 2016. This is Part 4a of my page-by-page commentary, attempting to clarify the things with which I agree and the things with which I disagree. (Read Part 3 here.) Each part covers one of the thirteen major sections of the DNC’s statement. However, after writing for several pages, I discovered that this sectionÂ is especially long. So I have split this up into parts 4a and 4b.
If you’ve read my previous commentaries, you know that I am no expert in…well, pretty much anything. There are policies with which I am unfamiliar. There are nuances and specifics that go beyond what I know. There are many counter-arguments that possibly exist to every opinion I post.
That’s okay. I offer these commentaries as my simple opinion, designed to expose my thinking on these topics. Hopefully, they help you, the reader, to clarify what you think about these topics as well. That’s part of what good conversation does. It helps both parties clarify their thinking, even when they don’t agree.
On to Part 4a. It begins on page 13.
BRING AMERICANS TOGETHER AND REMOVE BARRIERS TO OPPORTUNITIES
This section title brings us back to the platform’s theme, as stated in the Preamble.
Ending Systemic Racism
“Democrats will fight to end institutional and systemic racism in our society.”
Good. Though the Democrats were the leaders of racism in the 1950’s and ’60’s, they have turned it around since then. Racism is stupid.
Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
“The racial wealth and income gaps are the result of policies that discriminate against people of color and constrain their ability to earn income and build assets to the same extent as other Americans.”
This is probably partially true. To the extent that it is true, the policies should be changed. There should be no constraint on anyone based onÂ their ethnicity.
Reforming our Criminal Justice System
“Something is profoundly wrong when almost a quarter of the worldâ€™s prison population is in the UnitedÂ States, even though our country has less than five percent of the worldâ€™s population.”
IF “something is profoundly wrong”, then WHERE is it profoundly wrong? ItÂ might be wrong in the U.S., or it might be wrong in the rest of the world. Do we have more criminals or more law and order? Or both? Does the rest of the world care so little about crime, or not have the necessary law enforcement? This is more fun with numbers without actual numbers. It also skips over the first question: is inequity inherently unfair and wrong? Just because the United States has more people incarcerated, is that wrong? Just because the United States has a larger percentage of the world’s wealth, is that wrong? I don’t have those answers.
“We will reform mandatory minimum sentences and close private prisons and detention centers.”
Why? What’s the goal? If the goal is to reduce the number of people incarcerated, then this will be effective in the short-term. If the real goal is to deter and punish those committing criminal acts, this won’t do it.
“We will rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Yes. I also agree with the next few sentences on better police training, body cameras, and weapons limitations.
“We will end racial profiling that targets individuals solely on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin…”
I agree with the strict wording here, as long as everyone understands that race, religion, ethnicity, and national originÂ must be part of the overall profiling. To exclude these factors is foolish and dangerous.
I also agree with the rest of the paragraph.
“Instead of investing in more jails and incarceration, we need to invest more in jobs and education…”
That would be nice. Unfortunately, there are too many people who don’t want to play by the rules, and unless the rules are enforced, jobs and education and the ability to invest in them aren’t available to people whoÂ do follow the rules. Jails are full of people who had opportunities for jobs and education and chose to break the law instead.
“We will remove barriers to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society by â€œbanning the box,’…”
A spectacularly bad idea. As an employer, I want to know if a potential employee is a convicted felon. It’s something we can discuss. What I would like to see is this: if an employer knowingly hires a convicted felon, and that employee than commits a crime resulting in harm to life or property, then the employer should be protected from litigation, unless the employee was acting on behalf of the employer. (That protection might already exist. I haven’t researched this enough to know.) The employer should still have the right to know who they are hiring, and be able to refuse employment to anyone who represents potential harm to their business.
“The â€œwar on drugs’ has led to the imprisonment of millions of Americans, disproportionately people of color, without reducing drug use.”
More fun with numbers without numbers. I don’t have the data here, so I won’t comment one way or the other.
“Because of conflicting federal and state laws concerning marijuana, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of â€œSchedule 1′ federal controlled substances and to appropriately regulate it, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”
Interesting how in this one area, Democrats want federal law to yield to the wishes of state laws.
I am against the legalization of marijuana.
“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana…”
Keep this in mind on other social issues. Remarkably inconsistent, yet consistently wrong. It’s like they can’t think of a good reason to make marijuana legal, so they throw out the word “democracy” and that’s supposed to make it all-American. Baseball, apple pie, and and a bong. Dumb.
“We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment.”
This is a very difficult issue, possibly the most difficult. Is it cruel? Are there acts for which a person forfeits their right to life? Perhaps.Â I come down right in the middle on this one. Abolish it? Possibly. Keep it? Maybe. Forced to choose, I would probably do away with it, but I would do so only with great caution and empathy for the victims of those who otherwise receive it.
Fixing our Broken Immigration System
“The Democratic Party supports legal immigration, within reasonable limits…”
I do. Do you really, Democratic Party? Let’s see…
“More than 11 million people are living in the shadows, without proper documentation.”
“Without proper documentation.” They’re legally in the country, but don’t have the papers to prove it, or they’re illegally in the country?
I come to your house. I knock on your door. You answer, and I ask to come in. You say, sure, but there are some conditions. First, you place a time limit on how long I can stay. You tell me I must be a productive member of the household and I am assigned some chores. There are certain places I am not allowed to go in the house, and there are certain privileges I am not granted. Otherwise, I have accessÂ for a limited time.
This country is our house. Those from other countries are our guests. We should treat them kindly and be generous. If they want to become members of the family, there is a path to do so. However, there are restrictions and limits, and when those restrictions are ignored and the limits violated, the consequences are known. They are not pleasant for either side, but they are part of the bargain entered when the guests were first welcomed.
If the State is failing in their agreement and blocking the legal path for guests to remain, then they need to get their act together and not punish the innocent.
If the guests are attempting to get around the agreement by hiding in a closet or claimingÂ that it would be unfair and too hard to remove all their things and family they have brought into the house, then they need to be removed.
That’s not my opinion, that is the law as it now stands. That is what it means toÂ say legal immigration and illegal immigration.
“Democrats believe we need to urgently fix our broken immigration systemâ€”which tears families apart and keeps workers in the shadowsâ€”and create a path to citizenship for law-abiding families who are here, making a better life for their families and contributing to their communities and our country.”
Democrats want to change what it means to be legal or illegal. Meanwhile, they paint anyone who disagrees with them as un-American and against liberty and immigration as a whole.
I don’t know where I stand on this. I’m open to changing the current laws and making immigration more open. However, I resent the implication that upholding what was previously agreed to, and what is now the definition of “legal” is racist or cruel. The continued push to redefine the word “legal” so that anything we can get away with is “legal” is dangerous.Â Redefining words in order to make them mean what you want them to mean is the way of tyrants and evil people and liars, all the way back to Satan in the Garden of Eden.
Guaranteeing Civil Rights
“Democrats will always fight to end discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”
Discrimination is “the unjust treatment of someone”. Obviously, unjust treatment of anyone is wrong. It’s pretty much the definition of wrong. Justice equals what is right. Injustice equals what is wrong. But so far, in saying this, you haven’t really said anything. It’s like saying water is wet. Sure it is…what’s your point?
The difficulty is in the definition of “unjust”. Are limits unjust? Are restrictions unjust?
Let’s take an extreme example of what is unjust. Taking someone’s life. Killing someone because…well, justÂ because…that would be unjust. It would not be right. It would be wrong.
Killing someone just because they are European. Killing someone just because they are blond. Killing someone just because they are Mormon. Killing someone just because they are heterosexual. Killing someone just because they think they’re a tree.
In that extreme example, it is easy to see that killing someone “just because” is unjust.
But there are plenty of other “just becauses” that aren’t asÂ easy to callÂ unjust. One that has been a hot-button issue for awhile is marriage. We’ll talk about that one soon.
For now, I’ll just say that I agree with someÂ of this statement on discrimination, but not nearly all of it. Keep reading to find out why.
“We need to promote civility and speak out against bigotry and other forms of intolerance that have entered our political discourse.”
Â Yes. Civility begins when you recognize that a difference of opinion is not bigotry, that thinking differently is not intolerance, that disagreement is not to be feared or demonized.
“ItÂ is unacceptable to target, defame, or exclude anyone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”
This sentence is much too broad to be defensible. Unacceptable to target? There should be programs to help those with disabilities. Those programs must be targeted towards them. There should be programs for children. Those programs must be targeted towards them. It is desirable to target, depending on what you’re targeting.
Unacceptable to defame? Yeah. It’s illegal, so it should also be unacceptable.
Unacceptable to exclude? Much like targeting, exclusion is desirable in some instances. Now that I am older, I would like to be excluded from military service. Children should be excluded from marriage.
“While freedom of expression is a fundamental constitutional principle, we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence.”
Unfortunately, there is no freedom of expression that can exclude “hate speech”.
“We condemn Donald Trumpâ€™s…”
They could have stopped right there. We get it.
Guaranteeing Womenâ€™s Rights
“We are committed to ensuring full equality for women.”
I agree with this sentence and the two which follow.
“After 240 years, we will finally enshrine the rights of women in the Constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment.”
This is a misleading non-sequitur. In case, like me, you’ve never actually read the proposed amendment, here is the full text…
“Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”
Supposedly, this will “enshrine the rights of women.” The problem is that it doesn’t mention women. Â It only mentions sex. Back in 1923, when the amendment was first proposed, sex only meant men and women.
Unfortunately, the LGBT agenda has messed this up, and now this amendment would provide for privileges to those that have chosen to forfeit them.
In addition, there are questions of alimony, child support, women in combat, and other issues where the ability to protect women simply because they are women could possiblyÂ be taken away.
Â I support rights for women. I’m just not sure this amendment will do what the supporters promise, and I am afraid it might allow for things that would actually subjugate and harm women.
The bottom line for me on this:Â My daughters deserve every advantage their brother receives. They should not be paid less than male counterparts.
Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
Every human being should be treated with dignity. Every human being is a creation of God, made in His image, for His purposes, with an eternal destiny. The right to be treated humanely belongs to everyone.
However, those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have chosen to throw away rights and privileges they would otherwise enjoy. One of these privileges is marriage. Marriage does not belong solely to the State, therefore it cannot be given away by the State.
Gender is notÂ determined by preference or “self-identification”. Neither is the ability to produce sperm or ovulate. It is amazing that so many people who profess to live scientifically ignore the most basic scientific fact.
I continue to pray for friends who have been misled and confused by a culture that promotes what is abhorrent to God. In so doing, they refuse the opportunity to realize the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment a human being can know. Only in right relationship with ourÂ Creator, who created usÂ in His image, male and female, can we come to full realization of our true value.
Guaranteeing Rights for People with Disabilities
“No one should face discrimination based on disability status.”
True. In what has become a painful pattern, those without true disabilities have claimed these rights as their own, because of dishonesty and other bad motives. Nevertheless, the truly disabled should be helped.
Respecting Faith and Service
“Democrats know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith in many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires. We believe in lifting up and valuing the good work of people of faith and religious organizations and finding ways to support that work where possible.”
ThatÂ is all they have to say about faith and religion.Â I believe this shows the importance they place on faith and religion in daily life, thatÂ is, virtually none at all.
This section continues, and I will continue my commentary on it in the next post.