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The Democrat’s Platform Comes Up Way Short

The Democrat’s Platform Comes Up Way Short

Published on July 21, 2016

The touted so-called progressive platform of the Democrats came out just as all hell was breaking loose. Police in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights killed two unarmed black men. Two black, armed men killed three Baton Rouge police and six Dallas officers respectively. Just like the police, the former military officers had been trained to kill.

Police violence in this country continues to spiral out of control. So when I heard the 2016 Democratic draft platform was ready for public viewing, I went straight to the criminal justice section.

The first sentence is: “Democrats are committed to reforming our criminal justice system and ending mass incarceration.”

It should read: “Democrats are committed to reforming our criminal justice system and ending mass incarceration because we’re the reason that the U.S. has the highest prison population in the world.”

Clinton’s 1994 crime bill unleashed 100,000 new cops on working class communities of color. It provided nearly $10 billion in funding for prisons which accelerated the growth of the prison industrial complex. The bill also expanded death penalty-eligible offences.

We have this Democratic president to thank for not only for mandatory life sentences but for doing nothing about the racial disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine. This racist policy helped to explode both the state and federal prison populations by sucking up non-violent drug offenders.

I dove deeper to see what the platform would say about the black bodies falling in streets across the country at the hands of police. What would the Dems say about the racist and violent culture of police departments?

“We will rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. “

Really? How so when police, regardless of even incriminating videos, never seem to get indicted and if they get indicted, they never seem to get convicted. Without justice and fairness, there can be no “trust” between police and the communities they occupy.

I stopped reading the platform after this section. It was pretty meaningless. I had already heard that amendments to the platform that people like me hold dear had already voted down before it hit the public square. Like single payer health care. Like a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation. Like putting a halt to climate change. Like fossil fuel being phased out over the next 30 or so years. Like a critique of Israeli “occupation” of Palestine.

The platform is supposed to be the guiding program of the Dems—the Party of the People – that informs their legislation and public policy. To see how serious the Party is about addressing these issues, take a look at the 2012 platform and see what work was done.

Unless Bernie-Democrats are suited up for a big fight over the platform, a watered-down version is what we can expect to come out of the Democratic National Convention next week.

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