God, Jerusalem, and the Democratic Party Platform
In the midst of speeches, worrying about a balloon drop and listening to James Taylor, the delegates to the Democratic National Convention also have a little business to tend to. Not only must they nominate a candidate for President of the United States (done with much fanfare and praise late Wednesday night) but they also must approve the Democratic Party platform that will help determine policies for the next four years. The platform includes the party’s positions on everything from strengthening the middle class, jobs and the economy and, my personal favorite, education. The direction of the party is determined by this document and the delegates.
Well, not all delegates were pleased on Wednesday evening -- in fact, many booed -- when the convention chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, approved a very close voice vote to include two amendments that would insert the words "God" and "Jerusalem" back into the official platform in the following planks:
We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.
Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.
The reason for the reinsertion? Party officials have said that it was an oversight, though there are reports that President Obama had to intervene to get it accomplished.
Others have mentioned the political reasons behind it, as Republicans have continually noted that the left has no interest in those with strong religious convictions. They have also jumped on the fact that President Obama does not have a real commitment to Israel, as the President has yet to make an official visit to the country, but has visited other nations in the Middle East.
Whatever the reason, Mitt Romney jumped on the chance to criticize the Democratic Party and President Obama during an interview with Fox news:
"I think their having removed purposefully God from their platform suggests a party which is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people. I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize.”
As a person who has seen what goes on behind the scenes of the development of the platform, I can tell you that it is a carefully orchestrated production, with careful attention paid to wording -- I was surprised at the removal of "God" and "Jerusalem," since both had been included in past platforms.
Sept. 5, 2012 - DNC Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa addresses the delegates during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. (Credit Image: © Sean Meyers/ZUMAPRESS.com)
The problem that the Democrats now have to deal with is the "Boo" heard around the world -- which only further proved the Republicans' stance that Democrats are not fond of religion or Israel:
Democrats just booed God and Jerusalem being re-added to the platform. And you want me to vote Democrat because...?
— Savannah (@thesavvy) September 5, 2012
As a Democrat, I know that this couldn’t be further from the truth -- but as it played out on television and across the airwaves to Twitter, I was left wondering not only what the hell happened but would this turn out to hurt us in the long run. November 6 is 60 days away. We’ll find out by then.
Heather L. Barmore Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue