What the heck is a “party platform” you ask? I will tell you…. It is where you have a say in political party issues.
Political parties have a statement called a platform. Yes, even county parties have one. County parties are where it all begins in fact. Counties appoint a platform committee and that committee meshes the resolutions and surveys taken in the caucuses (another reason to attend caucuses) into a document that says this is what that county’s Republicans believe, support, oppose, or want. The state level platform committee consults those county platforms to create its platform and on Presidential election years, the National platform committee consults the state platforms to make its own platform. Platforms can be in any form. Some are formal, some are not. Some are specific some are general ideas. Some cite specific proposals some cite only ideals.
How many times have you wondered why certain candidates are one party or another? Even wonder what makes one a Republican or a Democrat? Look at the platforms. Ideally, the candidates running as Republicans should support this platform. However, since most people don’t even know there is such a thing as a platform for counties or even states, they can’t pressure candidates to stand by those statements. If more people were familiar with their platforms they could show the candidates what it means to represent that party. Since the statements have come from the voters themselves, and are voted on by county party representatives, with heavy input from actual local voters and party members, they are a pretty accurate view of the informed voters of the area.
Anyone can ask to be appointed to the platform committee. I am currently chairing the committee because no one else asked to get the ball rolling. I simply asked to be on the committee and who the chair was! There is so much apathy and ignorance among voter about how their government works that a new resident in a populous community can show up and shortly thereafter, end up writing the platform for voters who have been in the county far longer!
It took me a while to figure out how the party system worked. I decided I could not stand before God and answer that I had not done anything to stop the slide towards homosexual marriage. So in 1994 when I was a full time student, part time receptionist, and Primary President of my church’s children’s organization, I volunteered, was elected Party Secretary, and thereafter Vice Chair. Don’t tell me you don’t have time to help. Make time.
How will you answer when God asks what you did to stop the Constitution from falling? Joseph Smith prophesied that the LDS would one day save this Constitution and I believe him. So where are the others? Where is the LDS voice? We have much to offer on many issues in political life. Just because our church’s official stance is neutrality on candidates, it is not neutral on issues. The Church has been active on many issues that have a moral tone. So much of current political issues are really moral and cultural issues. The church begs members to be active in their communities. But members conveniently only remember the neutrality policy. I have had people tell me that we can’t have books read in a book club that contain anything political! We’ll call it book avoiding!
Avoiding information on issues will not help us. Where is the voice of those who have the truth? – I’ll tell you. We are hiding. We are afraid. We are uninformed. We are unwilling to work with outsiders. And I for one am disappointed in us. We could have so much impact for good in this country, and we won’t.