Please inform the fashion-plate air-head down the street that party platforms are not the latest in chic party tenny pumps! No, platforms are any floor or horizontal surface higher than an adjoining area. In poli-speak, the dialect of electioneering, a party platform is a formal declaration of principles. It is what the party represents.
So, for a couple of months we better be prepared to hear, decipher, and understand the language of platforms. The two major political parties recently met in convention to establish the bona fides of their goals and objectives. These have been codified by their party into the party platform. Each platform should be read by voters prior to the exercise of their franchise, the vote to be taken on November 6.
A hair ball of the techno-info culture is that we often allow others to assemble and summarize complicated data. So the pros at the diy network give us basic instruction on replacing hot water heater elements, the talking heads at ESPN tell us what the coach is saying to his team on the sidelines (a lip reading gift they learn in announcer school), and the news channels explain the overall plan of the political parties. The hard-to-swallow part is that they make it easy to swallow by often glossing over a few of the platform planks. So, what we usually know about the parties and their candidate is what the media tells us. It's only the face of the election, and not the heart. This is not good!
The heart of this election is in the party platforms, what the parties represent. Pause here for a minute. Many of us want to demonstrate an independent spirit and therefore will declare that we vote for the person and not the party. This is a noble idea but is really very naive. There are third party candidates in some elections but, in a national election each candidate is aligned with a party. This means that the candidates have endorsed and approved the party platform. So, while we want to offer an "atta boy" pat on the back to people who boast about voting for the person, I say, get a life. It isn't so, Joe.
Another pause. There's some personal assesment needed here too. What is actually important to you? Knowing our own personal beliefs and standards is an important component of assessing how we will expend our stewardship of the vote. As a result, before we are immersed in the line by line study of party stances, we should evaluate where we stand on the issues we know are going to be decided in this next election.
Then each of us can and should read the party platforms in details. The Democratic Party platform can be read here. The Republican Party Platform can be read here. There really is no primer for reading poli-speak. There are plenty of blogs and other articles about this new dialect but few instructions about reading it. So, be warned. You'll need to read carefully. It's an art, reading between the lines, interpreting what isn't written, translating hidden agendas, and going beneath the surface. Pray for wisdom and discernment as you go into this minefield.
Platforms aren't a pair of party pumps.They are, in great part, the stuff of the 2012 election. you and I better wise up and be informed as we draw close to it!