KOKOMO – Never in the history of Indiana Republican politics has so much been said by so many about so little.
 
I’m speaking about the proposed changes to the Indiana Republican Party Platform regarding marriage and families that will be voted on by delegates to the Indiana Republican Convention this coming weekend in Evansville.  To hear some vocal critics tell it, you would think that Beelzebub himself drafted the rather innocuous change that drops the Pence era “marriage is between a man and woman” affirmation and replaces it with a sentence that looks amazingly benign.
 
The proposed new wording states, “We support traditional families with a mother and father, blended families, grandparents, guardians, single parents and all loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.”
 
Now I don’t know about you but that is a sentence that I could support anywhere, anytime. When it comes to children and all of the problems that we have in our society with drug abuse, gang violence, depression, education and nurturing, who wouldn’t be in support of any type of family that provides love and support for our children? Well, I could name names, but they tend to be the usual suspects when it comes to thumping a Bible to suit their purposes.
 
This may come as a shock, but I have a substantial number of friends who don’t think anything like I do when it comes to equal rights for the LGBT community. Some of those friends are just downright hostile if you don’t approach LGBT issues with a meat cleaver instead of a paring knife. No gray areas. No shading. No waffling. No hedging. They just want a simple message politicized in the Republican platform that LGBT people don’t matter because ee-i-ee-i-o the Bible tells me so.
 
One leader from the Immaculate Biblicist Family Organization went as far as to declare that the Indiana GOP eliminated more than half of Indiana households in their platform; the media called it “inclusive.” 
 
I don’t know what leaked copy of the platform document this guy was reading, but what I read said, “We support traditional families with a mother and father…”  That doesn’t sound like it tossed out traditional families. It sounded to me like a sentence that embraced all the possible ways that children might be raised in a loving environment. But I guess understatement just won’t make people open up their checkbooks and send money to groups that will advocate for discrimination based exclusively on sexual preference.
 
The whole concept of a political party platform is pretty laughable in and of itself. Very few people work to create it. Very few vote to approve it.  Miniscule numbers read it. Fewer still follow it. An awful lot of energy goes into creating a document that goes into the bottom drawer of some party leader’s desk immediately after the Republican State Convention.
 
The most significant message that can be delivered by the platform requires understanding how the whole platform process works. 
 
The platform committee is assembled by the Indiana Republican Party chairman.  The Indiana Republican Party Chairman is Kyle Hupfer. He serves at the pleasure of our Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. It is safe to say that the platform committee will have a mix of political beliefs represented, but the majority will be in sync with the governor’s beliefs. The committee holds a few hearings and then drafts a document that could have been written without all the fuss of holding hearings. The document gets voted on by the platform committee at the state convention and then goes to the assembled delegates for an up or down vote. There are ways to amend the document, but there are plenty of procedural roadblocks to ensure that the platform committee report will be adopted as written.
 
Gov. Mike Pence stamped his personal beliefs all over the 2016 Indiana Republican platform and it was passed without a considerable number of delegates being able to do anything about it. Trust me on this one, I was one of the delegates favoring inclusion and we got our hats handed to us by a system that is structured to cater to the governor’s wishes.
 
Therefore, this current proposed Indiana Republican platform language tells us a lot about the man who leads this state, Eric Holcomb. As I have always suspected and respected, Gov. Holcomb has the best interests of all Hoosiers at heart and is moving to bring our state up to contemporary standards when it comes to realizing that we live in a world of immense diversity that must be inclusive in order to achieve important economic and societal goals. You simply have to have all of your horses pulling together if you are going to succeed in the modern world. White, black, brown, gay, straight and religiously diverse horses pulling in the same direction to make a better state for everyone.
 
Indiana is on the verge of being greatly imperiled by its own success. Our pro-growth environment of lower taxes and less government regulations has created an unparalleled business boom in this state. We will not only need to create our own workforce with critical technological skills, but we will need to attract talent from other locales both domestic and foreign. This will be needed to meet our current growth projections, let alone the massive increased demand that a new Amazon headquarters might present us.
 
There are those of you sprinkled around the great Hoosier State who like things just as they are. You are perfectly comfortable with living a life devoid of change, devoid of color, devoid of diversity of opinion. The B. I. B. L. E. is your daily roadmap and you will respond in a variety of ways to protect your views and way of life. I respect your views and beliefs. There are just times like these where I can only encourage you to collectively chill out and listen to your hearts and your children.
 
I have read what many of my Facebook friends have been saying about the Republican Party because of this proposed platform change and it is troubling. Those of you calling for an end to Republican majorities in the legislature fail to understand that your interests will be far better served by the Republican Party than by the Democrat Party. Those loudly promising to support the Libertarian Party just don’t understand what the Libertarian Party represents.
 
Once the Indiana Republican Party Convention in Evansville concludes, the platform will rarely see the light of day and we can all go about our business of making the Republican Party, “the party of ideas” and Indiana, “A State That Works.” I commend the leadership of the Indiana Republican Party for making this small, but significant, change to our party platform in the name of inclusiveness.  Thank you, Gov. Holcomb for giving this the nudge it needed. 

Dunn is the former Howard County and 5th CD Republican chairman.