-Felicia Cravens, Contributing Writer
(Crossposted at Houston Tea Party Society)
It’s convention season again, and time for resolutions. Resolutions are items submitted for the party platforms, and help define a political party’s principles. They are offered during the convention process every two years, and can signal to party leadership the issues of highest importance to the party membership.
Here’s what you need to know about submitting a resolution.
A resolution has two basic parts – an explanation and a desired action. The first part of the resolution gives the reasons for the resolution:
Whereas almost everyone likes ice cream…
The second part gives the thing that the body will resolve to do:
Resolved: that the party endorses Free Ice Cream Fridays at all party headquarters.
Of course this example is silly and very simple, but it shows you how a resolution is structured, no matter how many flowery words are in it.
Simpler is better, and the fewer words it takes to make your point, the more likely it is to be read and adopted. You will see resolutions with entire histories built into the “whereas” section. Don’t do that, or your resolution will probably be ignored. If you feel passionately about a resolution, spend the extra time and edit it down to the basics, then ask someone to proofread it to make sure it’s clear and sound. Show your passion not with flowery language and an assault with hundreds of words – show it with clarity.
Additionally, resolutions build a platform; they do not amount to legislation or anything like it. Think in broad strokes and grand principles, not the technicalities, when crafting a resolution. The platform tells the party leaders what you want done, but should not tell them, except in the most general of terms, how to do it. YOU ARE NOT WRITING LEGISLATION. Remember that.
Clarity must be stressed as of utmost importance. An unclear resolution is a failure, as it will be very difficult to capture the attention of enough supporters to back it.
GETTING THE RESOLUTION PASSED
A good plan is to offer your resolution in your own convention. A better plan is to send it to friends who will put it forward in their conventions. The best plan is to share your resolution far and wide across the state. Here’s why: the resolutions committees take into account how many times they see a resolution submitted. It indicates broad support for a stance the party should take. Get others involved and multiply the chances of success for your resolution.
You can offer resolutions even at the state convention level. If you’re REALLY serious about your resolution, go up to convention early and talk to the committee, or send the Resolutions Committee members an e-mail about it. Don’t complain that your item didn’t get into the committee report if you didn’t go and try to sell it. The committee meetings are open, and they deliberate the items before them seriously.
If you have resolutions to offer and share, post them HERE as well, and get them spread around.
EDITED TO ADD:
Dave Smith reminded me of the miserable state of the TX GOP’s 2010 platform. I’ll say this once, people:
PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD! IF YOU STINK AT GRAMMAR, ASK FOR HELP. Nobody wants to read misspelled, poorly constructed, grammatically incorrect resolutions. And a party looks bad, and wastes time, having to correct grammatical mistakes.