Last night at my Democratic Town Committee meeting, an issue was raised about passing a resolution to advise our leadership to get us out of Iraq and bring our troops safely home. You might think this is a no-brainer and would easily sail through being approved, but that's not always the case in a democracy where open discussion is encouraged and debate is welcomed.
The resolution was introduced and read aloud by a DTC member. I saw the resolution earlier in the week at my local district's DTC meeting (and yeah, February is one of those months where you can have two DTC meetings in the same week!) so I was aware of it's contents. I agreed 100% with its intent.
After the reading of the resolution, a motion was introduced for discussion. Out of the roughly 30 members in attendance, at least 10 individuals spoke in turn either for or against it, with some speaking two, three, or four times. It turned out there were issues with the way the resolution could be interpreted by our political rivals, and also fears that the resolution wouldn't adequately support our troops. I had discussed that the document, which is about 19 paragraphs long and tied up in legalese was confusing (I tend to zone out when reading more than 6 or 8 sentences that begin with "WHEREAS...") and thought it could be tightened up and made more concise. Some people had issues with the safety in Iraq and the entire region if we withdrew.
This led to a good 40 minutes of debate, and it was interesting to see democracy in action on this macro level. The discussion was lively but respectful, and finally the resolution came up for a vote.
While I had that minor reservation about the wording of the document, I also was absolutely sure that I couldn't vote against ANY resolution that was recommending we stop our continued wasteful involvement in that war.
The resolution passed, but not by the unanimous vote that I would have thought before the debate. Some of the points raised against the resolution were valid, and some I thought were less so, but they all deserved to be brought to light and debated.
This is the great thing about our Democracy, and one of the reasons why it matters to participate, even on the local level.