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Reflecting on the Platform Draft - Scotts Corner, New York

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The Democratic Platform for Change Draft is more concise and specific on a point by point basis than the one submitted by our Scotts Corner, NY meeting to the DNC Platform Committee. It appears in reading the draft that our group's input was completely covered, and on many topics addressed in far more detail then we had time to delve into. The draft clearly reflects the thoughts and tone voiced by the 18 attendees, who spent more than an hour discussing the energy crisis, environment, health access and affordability, education and human rights. Other areas included economics, war, labor and workers rights, national security and foreign policy as top issues.

One topic that was significant to our group was the United States' international reputation and the negative effects of the Patriot Act. Mr. Francis Kearns, a Fulbright Scholar peer review member, recounted his difficulty in recruiting foreign scholars to apply to come study in the USA due to their concerns of years of imprisonment without charges, fewer available visas and personal safety issues - all attributed to the rigid enforcement of the Patriot Act. It was the first time for most of us to hear first hand how our country's actions (or inaction) affect the larger community of scholars and multinational corporations unable to attract a skilled, educated and diverse population from overseas. The Democratic Platform Draft addressed this concern, though without specifically mentioning the Patriot Act. It was covered in broad strokes in several areas including "Renewing American Leadership" and restoring our standing in the world, and "Reclaiming our Constitution and our Liberties."

Another specific issue was internet availability for all, addressed as part of "A Connected America." This point was designed to assure access, safety, security and availability of the internet for all with the plan to implement a national broadband strategy for households, schools, library and hospitals especially in rural areas.

The section, "Science, Technology and Innovation" designed to end the Bush Administration's war on science, restore scientific integrity and return to evidence based decision making, practically mirrors our group's conversation, which took place besides the public water fountain that afternoon.

In reading Democratic Platform Draft, with over 1000 Platform Meetings attended by more than 2000 people from across the country, this draft succeeds in the mission of joining together their input and concerns into one voice, rewriting the priorities of where we wish to go. We can now only wait to elect and support a person whom wants this same direction for our county.