By P. Joseph Potocki
Listening to America
Fifty-two year old Fairfax resident Bob Ayres has been a political activist for years, but even he says, "This is the first time I've seen this kind of grassroots support and follow-up." Ayres is referring to the next two weeks, as Democrats and independents across the country head for private homes and small venues to discuss and debate issues they personally feel should be built into this year's Democratic Party platform. It's Barack Obama's way of soliciting the essential "what is" from voters and party foot soldiers who have traditionally been locked out of the party's platform creation process.
More than a dozen Democratic Party platform meetings will be held at various locales all across the North Bay, starting with a Cloverdale get-together on Wednesday, July 16. The cycle concludes on Sunday, July 27, with a pow-wow in San Rafael. Each meeting is independently organized and hosted by a different volunteer. The Obama campaign has outlined suggestions for these meetings, but their online "Guide" states that individual hosts should "feel free to organize your Listening to America Platform Meeting according to your preferences."
Ayers says that 30 people, including a healthy swatch of independents, have already signed on to meet at his home. They'll hash out important issues as they see them before boiling things down to the two or three most important consensus issues, or "planks," which will then be articulated and presented to Obama's campaign machinery by means of an online form. Once platform meetings nationwide have filed their suggestions, the Obama team assures that "reports from these meetings will be reviewed by the team responsible for the Democratic Platform. Some will be incorporated into the final platform, ratified at the Democratic National Convention." The Bohemian intends to follow this process and report back what happens to these white papers as this process unfolds.
With issues like impeachment, environmental degradation, war, economic whiners and winners, our Charmin Constitution, corporate governance, homes and homelessness, the ceaseless bailing out of the Big Boys and "We, the Nation of Torture" to madden your mojo, there are sure to be issues to appeal to most everyone. Each meeting ranges from two to three hours in length.
Those interested in participating can go to the Obama Campaign website's event page: [ http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/search_simple ]http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/search_simple.
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