Dear Editor,

The recent Republican National Convention was interesting and unorthodox in many ways, but to me one of the most surprising was the lack of a party platform.

As a member of the Wapello County Democratic Platform Committee, I have witnessed the value of the process in developing a platform from the county to the national party level. The platform process requires that many people meet to discuss their concerns, reach consensus and write coherent planks to forward to the state and ultimately to the national party. What we shared here was at the heart of democracy. The final product is never perfect, but it reflects the honest ideas of citizens at every level. Both the work we did together and the work product are vitally important.

Developing the platform is an essential part of including the voices of ordinary people in the principles of a political party. The final platform informs the work of the Party as a whole as an aspirational document. I expected no less from my Republican friends, many of whom I know to be principled and thoughtful, even if we disagree.

So I was surprised and appalled that the Republican Party did not choose to develop a platform at all for 2020, but instead issued a statement that essentially said that whatever the current President wants is good enough for them. America is best when we state our opinions and work through our differences to reach common ground. To give overall decisions to a single individual is unwise. This president already has shown autocratic aspirations and the Republican Party is complicit in encouraging him by failing to state a platform of ideas and aspirations for 2020. They have short-changed themselves and all of America. I expect better of them.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Reiter, Ottumwa

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