During the 2008 election season, as the political parties developed their political platforms, many Catholics groups came together to develop a Platform for the Common Good. This platform is based on principles from Catholic social tradition and addresses what we can do to make our nation “a more perfect union” focused on the common good.
To create the platform, we asked people around the country to conduct group dialogues about the needs of their communities and then identify the most important issues for our local and global community. We received input from 175 groups across the U.S. We then organized the issues into the following principles from the preamble to the U.S. constitution:
• Establish Justice – economic equity, human rights, immigration
• Ensure Domestic Tranquility – education, jobs, services, green space, criminal justice system reform
• Provide for the Common Defense – diplomacy, development, international institutions and treaties, creative solutions to common global problems
• Promote the General Welfare – human life and dignity, education, living wage jobs, housing, food, healthcare
• Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity – global common good, economic development, debt, stewardship
We also identified the major issues that came up most often in the groups:
• Economy – jobs, wages, poverty, inequality, basic human needs (food, shelter, education)
• Healthcare – universal, quality, accessible and affordable
• Immigration – need for comprehensive reform of U.S. policy, human rights and dignity, link to global economy and reasons that people migrate
• Peacemaking – both international (war, militarism, torture) and local
• Environment – climate change, energy policy, water scarcity, stewardship
NETWORK put these issues on our agenda for 2009-2012, and we made major progress on healthcare and some progress on economic issues during the 111th Congress in 2009-2010.