DNC: Can it Help Bridge the Real Gap in Our Communities?||
Mike Dooley, a 17-year-old from Dorchester, Mass., shares what issues he thinks
the Democrats should make a part of their presidential election platform.
Each morning this summer as I pull out of my driveway in Dorchester, Mass.,
for my summer job, I leave behind a neighborhood of manicured lawns and middle-class
white families who look, think, and dress the same. After a short drive I arrive
in Uphams Corner where the racial make-up of the street is largely minority. The
lawns here are not nearly so big, and men from the neighborhood gather in clusters
outside a local food market, many of them unemployed.
When the Democratic
National Convention comes to the capital of Massachusetts on July 26, its delegates
will find a state that, like most other states in our nation, is deeply divided.
While polls show that Americans seem to be evenly split between John Kerry
and President Bush, on support for the war in Iraq, or domestic issues such as
gay marriage, the real divisions in our country are more insidious, and more damaging.
The economic gulf is widening, between the haves and the have nots -- between
those who live comfortably in middle class communities and those who struggle
to find work and to get by day to day without health care or higher education.
platform that addresses our country's divisions|
The convention in Boston this week will not only nominate candidates for president
and vice president, it will establish a platform on which the candidates will
run. If the convention is going to have significance, it is going to have to create
a platform that addresses this growing division in our country.
commitment needs to be made by our nation to provide adequate health care, help
families address the high costs of college, help small businesses and social agencies
provide work for young people and training for the unemployed. The Democrats must
support fundamental changes in the tax structure so that people with lower incomes
pay a much lower share of their incomes, while those who are rich and super rich
are taxed more justly.
The Democrats need to create a platform that addresses
the essential needs of lower income communities like Uphams Corner. If a commitment
is not made to address these economic problems then we may all soon find ourselves
in a nation where the divisions between people are irreparable. The numbers of
unemployed and of people who cannot afford health care and education will become
Candidates for election everywhere seem terrified by the
prospect of raising taxes, but if the Democrats don't take strong positions on
providing economic changes that are needed for everyone, then they are not going
to be different enough from the Republicans to motivate voters.
world that young people will want to vote for|
Too many young people don't vote. They don't vote because they don't believe
their votes will make a difference. If the Democrats want to mobilize young people
to vote for them, then their positions on issues such as health care, taxes and
education need to make young voters believe that voting for them will make meaningful
changes actually happen.
When I'm an adult, I want to live in a world where
I can return from work to a home where my neighbors make up a rainbow of different
races and values, and where everyone has shared the same opportunities for success.
I want people to be less concerned with putting money into maintaining
their lawns and more into a government that helps those in need. I want to live
in a neighborhood where my children are not forced to travel out of town to find
a racially diverse environment like I have had to do. I want us all to find it
Dooley, a senior at Needham High School in Massachusetts and a participant in
The City School's summer leadership program.