A version of this is cross posted at Democracy For New Mexico.
Despite various ruckesses the grassroots experienced regarding the platform process here in New Mexico, we won some big battles at the NM Democratic Party Pre-Primary Convention Saturday. You can see one of them depicted on the front page of today's Albuquerque Journal above. A copyrighted story by Journal political writer Jeff Jones, describes passage of a floor amendment to the 2006 Party Platform introduced by Bernalillo County delegate Robb Chavez that says:
... the Democratic Party of New Mexico supports the impeachment of George Bush and his lawful removal from office.
Since this was a floor amendment, it had to pass by at least a margin of 2/3 of the delegates, which numbered in the 1200 range. In the article, NM Democratic Party Chair John Wertheim is quoted as saying
"It was probably 80/20" in favor of the resolution. "There was not a single person to speak in opposition."
In another excerpt, Chairman Wertheim continues:
Realistically, "impeachment is not going to happen while we have a Republican Congress." But he said the resolution shows "there's widespread sentiment among Democrats that the Bush administration has been fraught with abuse of power -- and a greater degree of violations than anything the Clinton administration did."
In addition, Dallas Timmons, another delegate from Bernalillo County introduced this amendment to the platform, which also passed by a large margin:
We believe the United States should abide by the Geneva Convention on all issues of conduct of war and prevent the U.S. military and our nation's intelligence agencies from utilizing torture of prisoners or detainees in any manner or at any time whatsoever.
It's telling that if an amendment or motion from the floor was allowed to be introduced by the Chair, it generally passed by a large margin, sometimes almost unanimously. What does this mean? That the NM Democratic Convention delegates are definitely from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, oftentimes way ahead of elected officials on timely and crtitical issues.
What do these successes show? If the Dem grassroots keeps at it, has the gumption to introduce business from the floor at meetings and learns to do it properly by studying the intricacies of Roberts' Rules of Order, delegates are often quite receptive and generally vote to approve the measures.
You can see why there's been an ongoing effort in some quarters of the NM Party to quash floor motions and resolutions before they get to the floor. A number of additional platform planks, including resolutions on equal civil rights for all and banning weapons in space, would no doubt have passed if the Chair had allowed them to reach the floor. Sadly, a motion to replace the weak and poorly written 2006 NM Dem Platform with the much stronger resolutions previously passed by the SCC was killed by the Chair's use of parliamentary maneuvers. He managed to get it tabled and buried without a vote. We just aren't that quick on our feet with Roberts' Rules yet. Give us time.
Unlike some of our candidates and officeholders, rank and file Dems are ready to rumble and to confront the right-wing noise machine head on. If not now, when? As legendary Democrat, President Franklin Roosevelt, once said, "The only thing we have to fear is -- fear itself."
There's a movement afoot among Dems of many stripes. It has to do with fighting for what we believe in. With speaking truth to power. With saying what we mean. With fearlessly persuading, educating and leading on issues where voters have heard only the arguments of the right-wing cabal. As the badges worn by a number of Dems at this weekend's meetings said:
"I'm a Murtha - Feingold Democrat. Are You?"
Anything similar going on in your state?