I am honored that I was elected to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., representing the Democrats of District 18. It was exhilarating to cast my vote for President Barack Obama on behalf of my fellow Bergen County Democrats, and it was also an honor to participate in our country’s democratic process at this level. As a high school social studies teacher, I have gained invaluable insight that I will bring back to my students from this opportunity to have an inside look at our democracy at work on the national level.
I spent much of the week attending workshops and caucuses where I learned in-depth information about sharing the priorities of the Democratic platform and even more about the achievements of our candidates, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. One of my responsibilities as a delegate and as Municipal Chair is to bring this information home to my county committee members as well as to the members of the Fair Lawn Democratic Organization, allowing all of us to be more effective at helping others understand the choices we are presented with in this election.
Historically, conventions were “open” because it was not known whom their candidate would be. In such a case, the negotiating among the candidates and the delegates was intense and pointed toward coming together behind one candidate. Now, since the candidate is already known before the convention even begins, what I experienced is that the goal of the convention is two-fold. These goals are to rally the base in the hall and to inspire the people watching at home by providing more information about why their candidate is right for the country and why the other candidate is detrimental.
Here is what the Democratic platform is and what our President stands for: First and foremost is the focus on rebuilding the middle class. The plan focuses on several things such as making a meaningful education available to everyone and access to affordable health care for all.
Next, the Democratic platform stands for assuring fairness and consistent rules for all citizens as demonstrated by the planks for campaign finance reform, ending tax loopholes, and continuing to provide sound regulation for Wall Street.
The third part of the platform highlights our commitment to one another as members of the community as shown by the Democrats’ commitments to religious tolerance, to making sure our veterans have a secure life including a job when they return home from defending our country, to marriage equality, and to a woman’s right to make choices about her own health care.
In addition, the platform focuses on the U.S. being strong in the world by building and sustaining the strength of our military, ending the war in Afghanistan and continuing to be a leader in climate change reform.
Our government must always remember that it is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” and the best way to do that is to play an active role in your local, state, and federal government. Attending the DNC has brought my commitment to a new level, underscoring my belief that as U.S. citizens, we all have an obligation to be active in our government no matter what political party one associates with.