Making Our Voices Heard
On July 20th, your Executive Committee (ExCom) at Democrats Abroad Japan (DAJ) proposed an amendment to the Democrats Abroad Resolution in Support of the Green New Deal, urging the Global ExCom, our state party for Democrats Abroad, to support a Climate Crisis Presidential Debate at the DNC. The amendment was sent directly to the Global ExCom, where it was decided Democrats Abroad as a whole would support a Climate Change Debate on August 11th, 2019.
Our DA representative, Gordon Gaul, attended the DNC meeting in San Francisco. The Debate Resolution was put up for vote to remove (a ‘yes’ vote) the Climate Debate resolution from the packet of resolutions, or to keep (a ‘no’ vote) it in the set of resolutions the DNC would enact. Our DNC representatives argued passionately in support in keeping the climate debate resolution.
However, the DNC did not keep the resolution, so we must continue working to make this issue a priority for the party. DA and our representatives watched as Tom Perez, the DNC Chair, declared he would be voting “yes” in favor of removing the resolution, and many followed suit. The prevailing argument made by the majority was that in the past they had too many debates, and if they had a Climate Crisis debate, they would have to have a debate on every major topic, like gun safety or immigration and all the rest.
From my informal discussions with all of you, the Climate Crisis is our top issue, and what you elected us to fight for when you selected us as your representatives in June. Are more single issue debates truly a bad thing? Bring on gun safety debates. Bring on immigration debates. Let’s bring these topics to the national narrative, so people can learn about the different policies and ways to solve these problems. Especially when our young people and activists, myself included, so deeply want these debates.
Moving Forward and Volunteering
In lieu of what happened, CNN held a Climate Town Hall and invited all presidential candidates to attend. The Town Hall format allowed candidates to answer in 30-40 minute intervals, and it was informative and educational. The 1.1 million viewers were far fewer than the 10 million+ expected from the debate format we are fighting for, but hearing each candidate respond substantively to audience questions gave good insight into their plans and characters. Perhaps we should be authoring more resolutions to bring to the DNC for these more educational formats, so we can all truly understand the options and plans being considered by different candidates.
Democrats are inquisitive, hopeful, want to learn - we definitely need to fight this sound byte and social media oriented culture, and ask our party to do more to help educate voters on political issues. Raising awareness is always the precursor to action. If you’d like to author a resolution, or just become more active, join us on Slack and contribute to making our voices heard.
One immediate opportunity is participating in the Democrats Abroad party platform development process, starting this fall. I believe we can drive Democratic policy on these issues, setting the agenda for all Democratic candidates.
Straight from the desk of our Global ExCom, the petition platform is now live to get presidential candidates on the ballot for Democrats Abroad. Each candidate will need 300 DA member signatures to qualify to be on the ballot. You can visit the petitions platform and fill one out for your candidate! The primaries for Democrats Abroad Japan have been officially announced, and they will take place at a specified date from March 3 to March 10, 2020.
After speaking with your members-at-large, our current plan is to have 3 polling locations - one in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. We are also planning alternate ways for people outside of population centers to vote (via Mail or Fax). Remember to make sure you’re a member of Democrats Abroad before the primaries (click Join here on top right) and have a valid passport as we prepare for the Global Presidential Primary.
Democrats Abroad Japan Fundraising Project
We need funds to pull off this primary, as well as voter registration, and Get-Out-The-Vote activities. It is getting harder and harder to find polling locations as more venues prohibit political activities. Free, informal locations are not available.
This will be a big project for us - but the first thing we’ll be asking of everyone is to help fundraise, not just for the primary, but whatever you think is really worth it. Right now we’re collecting ideas on how to spend the funds raised throughout our term. It’s an open invitation to any member! Just join us on Slack in the #fundraising-campaign channel accessible from the channels menu to add to the wishlist, or email your ideas directly to Dave via [email protected].
Save the Date(s)! DAJ Policy Forum and Upcoming Events
On October 20th, 2019 the DAJ ExCom will be putting together a policy forum that we hope to share with the entire membership. The focus will be an overview of where our American Democracy is at, and the topics that will affect us no matter who the candidate for president will be. How can we rebuild our international relationships? Rework the Supreme Court? How do we defeat the corporate influence weighing over us since Citizens United? How are we going to reduce carbon emissions and stop our climate to changing to a more and more dangerous world?
These are all things that will affect all of us - and it’s time we all get together and talk about them. More details will come soon, but be prepared to come either in-person or digitally (resources permitting) and join the discussion about our democracy and what we are going to do, here, abroad about it.
There’s lots of upcoming events as well, and if you’re in the capital (Tokyo) on September 15th, be sure to join us for Democracy & Debate day, and we urge Democrats to have debate parties across Japan and start discussing the policies we want our party to have for 2020.
John A. Baumlin Jr. - National Chair on behalf of
The Executive Committee:
Kiyoko Ayukawa - National Vice Chair
Anna Costello - National Secretary
Dave Brauer - National Treasurer