Phil Harriman (left) and Ethan Strimling, BDN Agree to Disagree bloggers. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

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Ethan: Now that the Democratic Party has passed a platform that protects a woman’s right to abortion, declares that the Maine Equal Rights Amendment should be law and supports LGBTQ+ rights, as oposed to the Republican Party platform, which would ban abortion, says marriage should only be between a man and a woman and ignores equality for anyone let alone women, are you ready to join the Democratic Party?

Phil: Has anyone written up a fiscal note on all the other stuff in that platform of yours? Because I am not sure even China could print the amount of money we will need to create the level of government dependency your team wants to impose on Mainers and America, but I digress. 

Ethan: Are you referring to my favorite sentence in the document: “Every person deserves adequate food, housing, health care, education and reproductive freedom?”

Phil: Of course everyone does. I just don’t understand the sentiment where government programs make it an option not to work, take care of themselves or even read a book to their child. Can’t we leave something to individual drive, pride and family?

Ethan: I don’t consider universal health care, a roof over your head, a good education, food and the right to make medical decisions that affect your body to be the creation of an overly dependent populace. In fact, it’s what every wealthy person in America already has and it’s the least of what we should do for everyone else.

Phil: Where does it end? Does everyone get a car, internet, $50 an hour and a trip to Disneyland? 

Ethan: As long as everyone gets a scooter, I am good. In all seriousness, I wrote a piece a few weeks back saying Republicans wanted to bring us back to 1959 with this platform. How do you defend a platform that calls for a ban on abortion, an end to gay marriage, that removes environmental protections and that undermines a worker’s right to negotiate a fair wage?

Phil: I don’t. I didn’t write it or vote on it. But as with most platforms, they are written by a small group of passionate members, then presented to the entire convention for votes. It is messy, as you know well. Lower taxes. Stronger immigration laws. Better incentives in our welfare system are the parts of the plank I support. 

Ethan: That’s the difference between us and our parties. I also didn’t have anything to do with the Democratic platform, but I have no problem supporting 95 percent of it. Most Democrats would feel the same.

Phil: Unlike your party, my party has room for differing opinions and encourages debate. In the end, we compromise on a document all can refer to.

Ethan: More like your party is divided between what your leadership and base want, versus what mainstream Republicans want. And that division will be your downfall, not that I am complaining.

Phil: How many times when you were a senator did you refer to the party platform before casting your vote?

Ethan:Good question. Not often. 

Phil: I didn’t refer to mine ever. And not once did my leadership say the party platform calls for us to vote this way or that. 

Ethan: If you are saying party platforms don’t serve much purpose anymore, I agree. But they do give voters a sense of what a party wants to accomplish. Which is why I think your party made a mistake taking such a right-wing approach.
Phil: Time will tell, but I’ll put my money on no voter caring what’s in the platform of either party.