Is Our Platform pretty well established, voted on by the membership of the "Citizen Party" and ready to offer to The People Of California?

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Great question.  I will ask Michael Thompson to address this.

 

Charlene

Daniel, Our platform was established some time ago and has changed some as our membership has changed and the issues have changed. We have been conducting detailed member surveys 2 to 3 times every year since 2005 when we were starting out as the New American Independent Party. We always note when members make suggestions in regards to the platform. If enough interest is found on an issue, then we study it and try to determine if it fits with our philosophy. Those that have been with us since the very beginning could testify that our platform has generally stayed the same. However, we have added issues, removed issues and made some adjustments to certain issues on our platform. Our platform has generally received very high marks from the majority of the survey responses.

 

We will continue to listen to our membership and make adjustments along the way if such changes gain enough support, would be consistant with our philosophy and gain approval. Any major changes would have to be discussed and eventually approved at one of our future national conventions. 

 

What we will not do is allow outside groups (Democratic Party, Republican Party, Reform Party, Neo-Cons, Radical left, Radical Right, etc.) to hijack our platform and our party. Thus, we will not make changes willy-nilly and protections have been and will continue to be added to our rules in order to protect ourselves from willy-Nilly changes or hostile acts. History is littered with failed third parties because they allowed themselves to be steered off course by well meaning and sometimes ill meaning folks.

 

If our party swings too far towards either side (left or right) of the political spectrum, we can kiss our efforts goodbye. If that happens we will not be successful. We must navigate carefully as we grow. It is important to note that while we do not want to get boxed in by being labeled as either the far right or far left, that does not also mean that we can simply be labeled as "centrist" or "moderate". Most Americans are not directly in the middle on all issues. Nor is the solutions to our problems always found in the middle. Instead, most Americans want real problem-solving, not more rhetoric. Sometimes solutions to certain issues appear to come from the right, sometimes they appear from the left and sometimes they can be found in the middle. Sometimes the government can provide the best solution to a problem and other times the private sector will provide the best solution to a problem. So, while the two parties continue to argue over "more government" vs. "less government", we need to provide "smart and efficient government" solutions.

 

We want to move our nation forward, not left or right.

 

To answer your question, our membership will have plenty of opportunities to voice any opinions or concerns about platform items. Opportunities will be available to change/add/remove platform items. It is only natural as we grow and times change that our platform will demand or require a correction.

 

Each state chapter will develop a state platform that needs to be approved by the national party. It is only natural that some state chapters will develop some differences from other state chapters. Just as the Republican Party of Vermont has differences from the Republican Party of Alabama. The same goes with the Democratic party. So, some changes will naturally develop as each state chapter grows. That is ok as long as we continue to share common ground on a majority of the critical issues.

 

 

 

I feel well answered Michael. Good sensible and pragmatic answers too.

You wrote; "To answer your question, our membership will have plenty of opportunities to voice any opinions or concerns about platform items. Opportunities will be available to change/add/remove platform items. It is only natural as we grow and times change that our platform will demand or require a correction."

Regarding the "opportunities to change/add/remove platform items", would this be the direct results of non-inner party circle members being allowed binding vote and expression of Will on issues that come up? Direct Democracy? The "Majority Will" of the Citizen Party Members? Would they be permitted to bring up which policy and platform issues to be scrutinized for change and then allowed to decide the implementations regarding these selected issues? Would the inner circle leadership co-operate, as general party policy, in this practice? I am looking at basic party structure here.

You also wrote the following line that could be a good party motto: "We want to move our nation forward, not left or right." This seems to indicate a respect for "Balance" in Our Nation's Culture and Destiny, something that is very important to me personally. It may become necessary to move "Left" then "Right" in well reasoned steps to achieve the desired "Forward" movement. (Like walking, a moving but Balanced Process, which could be called "Dynamic Balance".)

Thank you for taking the time to construct a well stated answer to my initial questions. I appreciate that.

Respectfully,  Daniel Penisten

I like that statement as well Daniel:

 

"We'd like to move our nation forward, not left or right."

 

Charlene

Daniel,

 

The first place that members can turn to help shape our course is by getting involved in the discussions on this website, our facebook pages, facebook groups, yahoo groups, myspace pages, twitter pages, tribe page, gather page, linkedIn group, etc., etc. We have a page or profile on at least 30 different social networks. We pay attention to those conversations. You can also submit your proposed platform ideas via emails. We will have a new page dedicated to platform changes added in the coming months. We gather all ideas in regards to platform changes.

 

We heavily rely upon our member surveys (next one will be in June) to gather feedback from our members. We have used past surveys to narrow down our new party name. We started out with 20 possible suggestions. Our party color (Purple) came first from a members suggestion and eventually came out on top in the member surveys.

 

We have eliminated issues from our platform (having a stance on the death penalty for example) and we have made adjustments on many issues that first started from member feedback and was place in our surveys. We usually offer different versions of a proposed idea/issue on different surveys to see the trends and patterns of the results.

 

We do require that a proposed change have a significant amount of support or debate before we add it to our member survey or take further action beyond a survey. We have alot of members and most of them agree with most of the platform. The members that have an issue or problem with a platform issue will naturally be more vocal than the members who rate our platform excellent. However, many members can still find an issue or two on our platform that they do not agree with. That is natural as we cannot please everyone 100% of the time. We cannot simply examine each one of those members disagreements. It would simply take too much time and would derail our efforts. So, we will not take up proposed changes unless we see a significant calling to do so. As I said, we will be adding a new page in the coming months that will serve as a place for members to list proposed changes or members can use the suggestion box topic in our forum.

 

We have a platform committee forming, which is a national level committee that has and will have a main function of examining proposed platform changes and working out the specific language of proposals that move forward. Proposed platform/ rules changes will be submitted and voted on during the national convention.

 

We will be providing a full and detailed explanation of the process under the "About Us" tab in the future after we get more of our members signed up. Currently, only a small percentage of our members have joined our website. We will continue to work hard to get our NAIP membership transferred over to this site. Several issues have been mentioned often enough to already be included in our next survey. Those include questions related to: "National Vote vs. Electoral College", "Single-Payer Healthcare" and "Social Security".

 

Generally, when a new member joins or someone volunteers we expect that they share common ground with us on many of the issues. If members only agree with 50% or 60% of our platform then they really should be looking for a different political party that is a better fit. Voters tend to hold third parties to a higher standard in regards to platforms. Many Democrats stay Democrats even though they disagree with several or many issues on the Democratic Party platform.  The same goes with many Republicans. It is common in third parties to have interested members not join or get fully involved because of a displeasure over a single issue or two. That is a challenge that we and all third parties face. People often expect third parties to fit more closely with their views on the issues or they bolt back to one of the major parties where they disagree with more issues. We cannot make everyone agree with every single issue. It simply will not and can not happen. What we can do is seek enough common ground with independent, democratic, republican, green and libertarian voters by trying to offer pragmatic and sustainable solutions to the critical problems we face.

 

We will continue to welcome member feedback on the issues. That being said, our main focus needs to on continuing to put together the "nuts and bolts" of the party, raising money and getting many more of our current members to join this website. We do expect to vote on platform issues during our 2012 Convention. I expect little changes before our convention.

 

We have and will continue to provide an avenue for our members to give input and shape our course. That is what VoteCitizens.Org is all about. We took a big chance by setting up a website that allows so much feedback. Our members control alot of the direction of the website and party just by actively engaging in discussions. This is one of the things that people like about us. But, at the same time it makes us vulnerable. If we start catching fire and begin seeing rapid membership growth, the two parties will direct members to join our site to influence the debate. We already have a couple of trolls for the two parties on this site. And we have had some of them show interest in getting involved with our party.

 

The Tea Party started out with a very good mix of voters. Many Tea Party events had many independents, democrats and libertarians. I even met some Green Party members at some of the early events. The Tea Party eventually got hijacked after it began to gain steam. The Republicans successfully gained control of the movement and it did so by the help of the Democratic Party and the left and right leaning media. As I said in a previous post, this has happened over and over to third parties. That is why we simply cannot have a direct democracy (direct vote by all of our members on each platform issue). While the idea sounds appealing, it would simply be way too easy to have our party destroyed. We must have safeguards in place if we want to keep ourselves intact so that we can get on with solving problems and changing the political landscape in America.

 

Debating the platform and fighting over the direction of the party destroyed the Reform Party. They are still fighting about it today (all three factions). The libertarian Party has seen a similar debate slow them every single time that they begin to gain momentum.

 

I encourage our members to continue to discuss the issues and submit suggestions where you think we can improve. The goal is to encourage discussion and make changes when needed, while at the same time not getting bogged down in disagreement or opening ourselves up to hostile acts. We want members that believe in our platform, believe in national self reliance and want to help us solve the real problems. We will continue to grow and adjust as time passes and more members come aboard. We will welcome such changes, but will reject hostile acts, hijacking attempts or simply attempts to create or paint a us with a Conservative, Liberal or Progressive identity.

 

 

The  "We want to move our nation forward, not left or right." sentence in my earlier reply actually comes from a Bill Clinton quote from the 1990's.

Here is a new page for members to make suggestions for survey questions.

 

I may post some of the results from previous surveys at some point.

Again, lots of good meat to chew on at this fire. Thanks for that Michael. I will respond to just a couple of items in this reply.

You wrote: "Our party color (Purple) came first from a members suggestion and eventually came out on top in the member surveys."

I immediately saw the balance between the "Left" and "Right" in this fine choice of color. Red being traditionally the color of the "Left" and, of course, the "Right" being the element represented by blue. Both mixed together into purple has become the new "royalty" of Balance...a sovereign inclusiveness for the Most Of Us. I like it.

Speaking of which, I am a bit of a regalia freak. I like shoulder patches and other accouterments that visibly proclaim the elements of my good heart and mind. I would like to get some "Citizen Party" shoulder patches made; keep some and send some to you. What do you think of this idea? Regalia suggests, very well, the extent of an organization's commitment...or so it seems to me. The Sovereign "True" Citizens Of Our Nation being the New Royalty Of America. Expressed through Our responsible participation in the government of Our Land. The Citizens Party could be the path maker for this good stuff.

Then you also wrote: " The Tea Party eventually got hijacked after it began to gain steam. The Republicans successfully gained control of the movement and it did so by the help of the Democratic Party and the left and right leaning media. As I said in a previous post, this has happened over and over to third parties. That is why we simply cannot have a direct democracy (direct vote by all of our members on each platform issue). While the idea sounds appealing, it would simply be way too easy to have our party destroyed. We must have safeguards in place if we want to keep ourselves intact so that we can get on with solving problems and changing the political landscape in America."

I can certainly see your concern here. No movement or system can succeed without appropriate "safeguards"...because... We Humans have that nasty tendency to "go too far", with anything We undertake to do. This phenomena is near the heart of Our Problems.

I can see that you fear Our Ranks being unbalanced by too many of other social persuasions...who have come to unbalance us. Well founded concern, I would say.

Yes. "Safeguards' for sure. And one of these safeguards is in the form of dedicated Human Beings who have a clear and fairly precise "feel" and instinct, for the desired goals of this movement of Balance. At first We The People have to trust these Men and Women who are the Guardians of Our Cause. Then, Hopefully, eventually these guardians will have proven their value and trustworthiness. I suppose this is what The American Founding Fathers had in mind, when they gave Us a Republic instead of a Democracy. They could see, and I believe rightly so, that We The People were just not ready yet to assume the controls of Our Nation.

Safeguards can take other forms too. Perhaps less risky as trusting Humans, but so much harder to establish and implement. These would be general policy controls, in the form of "Standards Of Decency", (of dedication to right over wrong), that could be just and steadfast guidelines. But, this way takes time and skill. I do Hope, eventually We will reach this wonderful level of social expression.

So. "Safeguardians" it is. The solid representatives of this party's intended balance of "Left" and "Right", blended wisely and skillfully in the Center Of Most Of Us. It is pretty darned exciting to see where this will end up. Will the "Citizens Party", of the Balanced Best Of Us, achieve this new idea well? We will see...and I will do what I can to make this happen..."make it so."

What a social adventure this might be. What a new breakthrough and discovery this may take Us to.

If We win this quest, for good beginning pragmatic solutions to heal Our Nation, "Direct Democracy" could well have its golden opportunity.

There are other ways for "Direct Democracy" to become stronger; gradually. But no matter which way, this highest of Human government expression, cannot come into being without Most Of Us, one Individual at a time, becoming Our Own Caring, Serving, Dedicated, Wise and Just Guardians.

Thanks again for the time and effort of your good posts Sir.  

If I may, I'll chip in my two cents on the idea of shoulder patches....

 

For me it smacks too much of a militaristic symbol.  And I think most Americans would not warm to it.

 

My feeling is that if we are going to have some type of "symbol" for the party that it be something that most Americans would be proud to wear on a daily basis.  Perhaps a nice pin that goes through cloth and has a clasp on the opposite side?  Or a "bracelet" of some kind?  Perhaps a purple bracelet that slips on??

 

Not sure what, but I'm not feeling the shoulder patch.  I did enjoy reading your post though Daniel!

 

Charlene

Thanks for the input Charlene. Not only on my shoulder patches idea, but all along in this string as well.

And those too, are good ideas, you have, for introducing the "Citizens Party" symbol to the populace. I'll take two of each.

Would the bracelet be connected by an Eagles chain...or engraved band?

Then there's always tee shirts and jackets too. Thanks for the ideas. Something for everybody.

Charlene Richards said:

If I may, I'll chip in my two cents on the idea of shoulder patches....

 

For me it smacks too much of a militaristic symbol.  And I think most Americans would not warm to it.

 

My feeling is that if we are going to have some type of "symbol" for the party that it be something that most Americans would be proud to wear on a daily basis.  Perhaps a nice pin that goes through cloth and has a clasp on the opposite side?  Or a "bracelet" of some kind?  Perhaps a purple bracelet that slips on??

 

Not sure what, but I'm not feeling the shoulder patch.  I did enjoy reading your post though Daniel!

 

Charlene

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