The 2012 Democratic Party platform, in sharp contrast to its paranoid, grasping, haterade chugging brother the RNC platform, is a friendly, hug-oriented drum circle of a political wish list. So much so that it can verge on feeling a little too try-hardy. Let's examine the 10 most noteworthy ways that the bespectacled, rumple-shirted liberal elites are trying to bro down with the proletariat.
10. You still hate George W. Bush, right? Ugh, us too.
All week at the RNC, speakers couldn't shut up about how lame it is that the Obama administration still blames George W. Bush for the state of the economy today. But Democrats don't care. They know all sorts of left-wingers — from Occupy Wall Street bullhorn sharers to Wisconsin public school teachers to urban literatti who wouldn't touch iceberg lettuce with a 10-foot pole — still get fired up about how terrible W was. Wouldn't be surprised if a giant gif of the younger Bush smirking in front of that dumb MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner played in a loop during the convention.
The DNC has even placed a Remember George? plank in the platform, so it's impossible for voters to forget that the disastrous circumstances that led to the financial collapse were set up by W and heartily endorsed by Republican leadership of the day.
9. Being mean to people is yucky.
Sunshine, rainbows, hand-holding, hugging, equality. Tie dyed tee shirts. Mutual braiding of hair and/or beards. Let's turn America into one big sharing, caring, singing ball of diversity. The Democratic Platform seeks to strengthen anti-discrimination laws, outlaw employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. It will be just like this song from early 80's episodes of Sesame Street, which I still get stuck in my head sometimes.
8. No one likes intruders in their genitalia. The DNC promises to stay far, far away from your ladyparts.
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. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.
The platform also mentions that education — like the sex kind — helps reduce unplanned pregnancy and therefore the need for abortion, a fact lost to the pro-life zealots on the right who think that sex is a thing kids hear about on the back of the school bus and not a natural act that preceded nearly every human birth, even before internet porn began corrupting Our Children's Minds.
7. Are you middle class? Come sit at our table!
The Democratic party platform has gone out of its way to frame the upcoming election as a choice between government that will support the middle class and government that will build a series of money bins for Uncle Scrooge, Mitt Romney, and other members of the Super Elite class who have discovered the secret to swimming in vast pools of gold coins. The platform document mentions the phrase "middle class" forty times, eight times in the intro alone.
Here's the funny thing about the term "middle class" — everyone except maybe Donald Trump and the Rich Kids of Instagram thinks they're "middle class." I went to college with a girl who lived in a gated community in one of the wealthiest zip codes in America who thought she was "middle class." No one really agrees what it means! If we're talking between 80 and 120% of the median household income, we're talking households that earn between $35,000 and about $52,000 annually, which I suspect would disqualify a lot of people who didn't know they were rich. Other definitions include everyone who is not in the uppermost or lowermost income quintiles — from $25,000 per year to $100,000 per year.
6. You get a job! And YOU get a job! And YOU, and YOU, and YOU, and YOU, and YOU get a job!
Jobs, jobs, jobs. And not just of the blow- and rim- varieties, although some people enjoy those very much. The Democratic party is firmly pro-jobs, it says, the sort of jobs that put food on your family
5. Love you, mean it, people with a fuckton of student loans.
Know what sucks? The realization that, thanks to decisions you made when you were 17, you will have to pay, like $400 a month in student loans until you hit menopause, which is pretty much the scenario for a good portion of the Non-Wealthies I know who went to college out of state. The Democratic Platform to the rescue!
To help keep college within reach for every student, Democrats took on banks to reform our student loan program, saving more than $60 billion by removing the banks acting as middlemen so we can better and more directly invest in students. To make college affordable for students of all backgrounds and confront the loan burden our students shoulder, we doubled our investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, and we're creating avenues for students to manage their federal student loans so that their payments can be only 10 percent of what they make each month.
Translation: banks probably hate this, because it means they get less money. A conservative might interpret this as interference in The Blessed Vagina of the Free Market and complain that some poor secretary who somehow meets the financial requirements to own single shares of equities will be negatively impacted. How will Moms and Pops across America have those tough Kitchen Table Conversations about how much the stock portfolio has shrunk this year, thanks to some dumb poor kids who want to go to college without being saddled with decades of crippling debt?
4. Gay? Okay!
Here it is, right in the platform:
We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
The platform committee calls this "freedom to marry," but I call it "freedom of people who stand in favor of denying other people rights to shut the hell up and mind their own damn business." (Although I don't think it's de rigueur for political parties to use swears in their official platforms, because that could lead us down a dangerous road that ends in an "EVERYBODY FUCKS" plank in the DNC platform and a reciprocal "FUCK EVERYBODY" declaration in the RNC platform. And political platforms should be family-friendly.)
But wait, there's more! Per the platform,
Recognizing that gay rights are human rights, the President and his administration have vowed to actively combat efforts by other nations that criminalize homosexual conduct or ignore abuse.
The platform also contains strong anti-bullying language, and a demand that Don't Ask, Don't Tell not be reinstated. In contrast, the GOP platform obliquely endorses Christian groups that promote anti-gay agendas.
3. Art nerds, we love you.
The tote bags will continue to flow from liberal darlings like NPR and PBS if Democrats have any say in it. Their platform reaffirms support for the art, public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, and other things that aren't guns or explodey military toys.
2. Hooray for teachers, cops, firefighters, and other public employees!
As a Wisconsinite, I took the pro-teacher, pro-firefighter language in the Democratic Party platform as a not-subtle jab at efforts like that of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who led a heavily-protested charge to weaken public employee unions in the state. But you could also read the planks about celebrating public-sector employees and promoting jobs, jobs, jobs as another effort on the part of Democrats to make friends with everyone.
1. Every night is Ladies' Night if you're on Team Dem
Barack Obama has made no secret of his desire to be BFF's with alllll the ladies (earlier this spring, ex-CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who is married to a Romney strategist, referred to this as being "condescending to women" in an article that was, ironically, condescending to women). The President has gone out of his way to keep women's issues front and center in a debate that the other side wishes to steer as far from lady-related topics as possible.
We are committed to ensuring full equality for women: we reaffirm our support for the Equal Rights Amendment, recommit to enforcing Title IX, support the Paycheck Fairness Act, and will urge ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
At the RNC, there was quite a bit of grumbling about how women's health, equal pay, and abortion rights were a "distraction" from the REAL problems facing America, but what the Democratic party seems to grasp that the Republican party doesn't is that, for women, reproductive rights issues are economic issues. Kids are expensive as hell.
So, what's missing from the platform? No mention of women in combat (the RNC platform claimed that female interlopers could mess with unit morale, plus there's Newt Gingrich's famous statement that women in foxholes can get "infections" if they're in one place for more than 30 days — PERIOD INFECTIONS), and no explicit position taken on whether all voters should be entitled to a free pony. I'm sure it was just an oversight.