Democratic Party Message: A Challenge to America (2/25/07)

Submitted by the PCDO Identity and Message Committee, Debra Lambo and Peter Lindenfeld, Co-chairs

The Democratic Party Message: A Challenge to America

 

We need all people to be healthy and educated, and to lead productive lives,

and all children and elders to be cared for.

We need a free press, our votes and voices to be heard,

and honest and knowledgeable officials.

We need to work with others in the world,

to have a healthy economy,

to take care of our planet's environment,

and to reduce the widespread violence.

 

The Democratic Party is the party that cares about people.

People are our greatest resource.

We draw people together to solve the urgent problems

of our communities, our country, and the world.

Will we as citizens step up and take on the challenge?

  1. The Iraq War - We must terminate an occupation which costs American as well as other lives and injuries, and which continues to be sold to us with false pretenses. We support a speedy withdrawal of our forces and help for the Iraqis as they rebuild their country.
  2. National Security - Our recent military actions have made us less safe. The threats from international terrorism and from rogue states require a new era of alliances, based on mutual respect and a shared vision. Our national security has to be based on a national and global plan for the prevention of man-made and natural disasters and recovery from them when they occur.
  3. International Relations - Democrats believe that strong international alliances are the cornerstone of our foreign policy. America must stand ready to help those who seek to eliminate violence in the Middle East and elsewhere. A stable peace in the Middle East will be achieved only through negotiation, not through military action. Our strength must again rest on our moral authority.
  4. Health Care - Adequate health care is a fundamental right of all Americans. The current system places unfair burdens on too many Americans, including employers, health care providers, and the uninsured. A public program patterned after the successes of Medicare is needed to cover all Americans.
  5. The Economy - We must reverse the current disparity between the extremely wealthy and all other Americans, and address the challenges of entrenched structural poverty. Among the steps that we advocate are an increased minimum wage, a tax system that asks more, rather than less, from those at the highest income level, a reasonable estate tax, and a reduction of the national debt and its burden on our children and grandchildren.
  6. Education - America's ability to compete in the world economy depends on an educated citizenry. We must provide incentives for more and better education, especially in science, mathematics, literacy, and languages.
  7. Energy and Environment We must protect America's extraordinary natural resources, promote conservation, and invest in technologies that reduce our reliance on oil and other fossil fuels. We must continue to strive for cleaner air and cleaner water, and to protect our National Parks and wilderness areas. Global warming as a result of carbon dioxide and other emissions is a major threat which must be countered by national and international action.
  8. Social Security - The Social Security system must continue to meet its unconditional promise to deliver benefits.
  9. Immigration - Immigration policies must recognize the essential role in our economy of Americans born elsewhere. Our borders must be secure, but legal immigration and access to citizenship must be provided to those who lead productive lives in the U.S.
  10. Open and Ethical Government - The constitution, the bill of rights, and the civil rights laws must be protected and enforced. Elected officials must be answerable to the people whom they represent, and held to the highest standards of honesty. Each vote must be recorded accurately, and be subject to verification. We cannot allow the right to vote and access to the polls to be limited.

 

On the Iraq war

The withdrawal of our troops will enable the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country's future. The presence of foreign troops only exacerbates the country's internal conflicts. American and other lives are too precious to be wasted in a war without end. We must have a clear exit strategy, independent of any undefined and unattainable `victory'. We also ask for strict oversight of American funds appropriated for use in Iraq and elsewhere by private companies.

On National Security

We take great pride in our military defense force. We must not allow its strength to be eroded. War must remain the last weapon when our security is gravely threatened after all other measures have failed.

We need also to strengthen our police systems, and to establish a national plan for action by first responders and police in national emergencies.

Whether or not this is our aim, we have allowed the perception to grow that we are waging a war on Islam, and this has led to an unfortunate decrease in our security. It is imperative that we reverse this trend.

The greatest weapons that we have are our principles and our integrity. We can only lead by being the best that we can be.

On International Relations

Our military strength is a fundamental protection for our country. Its might has caused us to rely on it strongly, but we must not neglect the power of negotiation. We cannot be the police for the whole world, but our strength gives us the opportunity to be `honest brokers'.

On Health Care

The U.S. Health Care System is in crisis. One in six Americans has no medical insurance. Many citizens must choose between paying for medical care and basic necessities. Average spending for health care per person in the U.S. tops that of other developed countries, yet indices of public health in this country, such as life expectancy and infant mortality lag inexcusably. The fraction of resources spent on administration is much smaller for Medicare than in private insurance. We advocate the creation of a system of Medicare for all, financed by a trust fund like that for Social Security.

On the Economy

The U.S. economy has displayed a remarkable increase in worker productivity within the last decade, yet wages of workers and middle class incomes have remained stagnant or declined. The tax laws, as well as other practices, have allowed the rich to become richer, have left a greater fraction of the population to struggle just to stay at the same economic level, and made it more difficult for families with low resources to raise their standard of living. We support laws and regulations that reverse this trend and that protect workers as well as investors.
 

On Education

In the past the U. S. was a leader in science education, but it has now fallen far behind. The achievements of our students in quantitative and general literacy are inadequate. They must be raised if we are to regain our leadership in innovation and technology. We must attract more of our best students to the teaching profession, and invest more in our educational system. Student loans at low interest should be provided directly by the government.
 

On Energy and the Environment

Conservation of our energy resources is the simplest and cheapest way to decrease our reliance on imported oil and other fuels. In addition we must invest more in the development of renewable energy sources. We now know that global warming is a major threat to our civilization. We support measures to reverse the increase in carbon dioxide and other emissions that give rise to this effect. We must also conserve our other natural resources, including clean air and water, and protect the land that we hold in common for the good of future generations.
 

On Social Security

We oppose the privatization of the Social Security system, and the use of the Social Security Trust Fund to finance the national deficit. We favor the abolition of the cap on earnings subject to social security deduction, which unfairly exempts high income earners from our common social obligations.

On Immigration

Raising the minimum wage will encourage American citizens to take on jobs now performed by illegal immigrants. At the same time we can put pressure on governments and companies abroad to improve working conditions and to raise the standards of workers in their countries.

On Open and Ethical Government

A Democratic administration will minimize the use of secrecy in its relation with the general public. It will pay constant attention to the protection of our civil liberties and vigorously enforce the civil rights laws. We believe in a free and open press, and will see to it that the Internet remains equally accessible to all. We support the Geneva Convention which stipulates the rights of war prisoners, and oppose the use of torture or inhuman treatment to anyone in U.S. custody.

A fundamental tenet of our democracy is our right to vote and to have that vote counted. Our voting system must include verification, accountability and accuracy. Democrats will demand and supervise equitable access to polls. We will resist all attempts to legislate voting requirements which under the pretense of avoiding fraud create obstacles to access to the polls. We will demand legislation which modernizes election equipment and guarantees impartiality, legality and honesty in registering and counting every vote cast.