No, not *that* season. (And for those keeping track, there’s not a war on Christmas–although there should be one on stores decorating for it in September…) It’s campaign season! About now, most of the state political parties are releasing their campaign platforms, which serve as a sort of road map for where they want the state, and the country, to go. It also provides some insight into their thinking on numerous issues.
I’m sure most of you have heard something of the Texas Republican Party’s platform, so I’ll limit my discussion of that to one point: Any group that opposes the teaching of critical thinking skills is not sustainable in the long term, and on its way out. The whole point of critical thinking–heck, of education in general– is to challenge one’s fixed beliefs; this is how we learn, and expand our knowledge, both individually and societally.
I’ve done a once-over for the parties of a random sampling of states; I picked three, then took a look at the Republican and Democratic platforms for each. They tended to be fairly consistent–a given party’s platform in, say, Wyoming looks very similar to that party’s platform in Louisiana. There are, of course, some regional differences, but they are for the most part really minor. The three states I looked at in particular were Kansas, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
One thing leapt out at me from the Republican platforms for all three: They claim, up at the top, to respect individual freedom, and our inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But when you dig down into the platforms, they’re all about restricting those things. (Gay marriage is a big one. New Hampshire even goes so far as to oppose State recognition of gay marriages performed by other states… I’m not a constitutional scholar, but it seems to me that Article IV of the Constitution has something to say about that.) Some of the rest of them struck me as just silly. Examples: Opposition to Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. Support for right-to-life, except in cases of capital punishment. There are others, but the amount of self-contradiction in them was pretty surprising.
None of this is to say, of course, that the Democratic platforms are perfect. I’ve got to say, though, that the Kansas platform was short, sweet, and to the point. (There’s actually more than that–the details are hidden in the “issues” link, but they seem reasonably well thought-out.) I don’t recall seeing anything in any of them I couldn’t get behind–no surprise there, I’m sure.
What sort of craziness are the parties up to in your neck of the woods?
(I’ll be taking next week off; it looks like we’ll finally be closing on the New House, so there’s the beginning of the move, and retrieval of some stuff from the Bug-Out Location to take care of. Keep cool!)