Saturday, January 27, 2007

Democratic Values Platforms and Resolutions

There's always excitement when Democrats talk about "what we believe." At yesterday's Oklahoma County Democratic Party Friday luncheon State Senator Connie Johnson spoke about clearly defining who we are as Democrats.

As we approach our organizational meetings and grassroots activists have the opportunity to submit resolutions through their county and district conventions I thought it would help us to look at some other values statements. Here's one from DEMOS -- it supports investing in our public structures together.

Public Works: The Demos Center for the Public Sector

Our Values

We believe America is at its best when we work together, when we each strive to be engaged citizens, and when we see beyond our self interests to the needs of our communities. And, we believe these traits are the founding principles of our public structures and our government. The public realm is the space where connections between Americans are fostered and where we can come together to share challenges, solve problems and pursue the common good. At Public Works, we believe these fundamental principles must be restored and that support for public sector institutions and activities must be rebuilt in order to strengthen our collective well-being and meet together the challenges of the future.

We believe . . .

. . . in public purposes and common good. We believe Americans must work together to achieve public purposes. Whether it's creating vibrant communities, ensuring the health and safety of our people, or fostering advances and innovations to benefit the world, there are noble goals that Americans cannot achieve working individually. But, together, we can build a country that ensures opportunity, justice, safety and freedom for all.

. . . in "citizenship." We mean real citizenship, a citizenship that has historically called us to be active, involved members of our communities; engaged in how we are governed and supportive of the public institutions that help us thrive. We believe we must revive the notion of "good citizen" and "corporate citizen" in America. We believe that regardless of origins, race, or religion, Americans share a responsibility to engage in activities that promote the greater good of the community.

. . . in the balance between public and private interests. We strongly support the right of each American to pursue his or her private goals. However, we also believe that private pursuits must be balanced by public interests. Today, this balance is in jeopardy; too often self-interest trumps public interests, undermining the very concepts of community and public good. We believe we must restore government's role in arbitrating the proper balance between individual gain and shared benefit.

. . . government must be recognized as the instrument of our public will. Our traditional values of public purposes, common good, "citizenship" and the public/private balance have declined, in part because, government's mission has been undermined, and public faith in the values that under-gird the public sector has diminished. We believe we must reaffirm the public sector as the principal institutional embodiment of our collective will to address shared challenges and achieve common ambitions.

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