The platform hits its most strident tone in tackling an issue irrelevant to the lives of most voters. “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay,” the platform notes. “We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” The party didn’t always speak with one voice on the divisive issue. Forty years ago, the Democratic Party Platform treated abortion the way they treat God now. They left it out. In 1976, when the word first gets mentioned in a Democratic platform, Democrats acknowledged “religious and ethical” objections to the procedure. By 1988, the party had declared abortion a “fundamental right” deserving of public subsidy. The last quarter century hasn’t seen an alteration to that plank. Abortion über alles.
Party platforms, like politicians without a “stop” button (see Joe Biden), generally undermine what they set out to accomplish. They make observers see party people more as pod people than everyday people. The Republican Party’s recent plank encouraging a federal crackdown on pornography and obscenity shows that the Democrats don’t have the market cornered on proclamations divorced from reality. And past Democratic platforms obsessing over acid rain and the ozone layer shows that this current platform isn’t alone in championing idiotic crusades. Thankfully, for the parties’ sake, the platforms tend to be tediously long and extremely boring. Voters not reading them might not be good for America. It is good for Democrats and Republicans.
As far as the Charlotte convention offering a coherent contrast with its adversaries on a guiding philosophical principle, this comes closest: “We are bound by a shared set of ideals and values rooted in the notion that we are greater together; that our collective efforts produce something better than the sum of our individual actions.”
Earthling translation? Stop being an individual and get in the pod.
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