The Democratic Party, sensing electoral weakness in the war-ravaged Republican Party, began an intensive search for a platform that might lead to a rejuvenation of their own habitually unfocused and widely unattractive party.
Apparently, they have finally grown alert to the inadequate support provided by the random planking that has been delivered to them by various political strategists – usually, they now see, not deeply resonating and indubitably ethical ideas, but hardly more than sound bytes based on evanescent hot topics. Now, they long for an entire foursquare platform but, so far as is detectable, have yet to arrive at one.
Desperate to grasp the new grail, a leading member of the party found himself inspired to make a pilgrimage to the home of the legendary Democrat, FDR, in Hyde Park, New York, there the better to meditate toward a new vision.
While strolling the grounds, he happened to notice a bent and weathered gardener, who was intently spading in a flower patch and engaged him in a conversation, which turned to how long the aged son of the sun had been employed at the estate.
The gardener, affable in the suspect way many oldsters are, confided that he had been tending the tulips and other resplendent blooms for so many years he actually knew FDR. Then, having answered his interrogator, asked, “And, may I ask, what brings you here?”
The wandering wonderer confessed, “I came to find a Democratic platform.”
The wizened gardener suddenly grew much more animated, and effused, “I know where the platform is.”
“You do?” asked the surprised politico.
“Sure do,” the gardener confirmed.
“Mind showing it to me?” the somewhat skeptical Democratic replied.
He led the curious visitor to the basement of the historic home. In a far reach of it, he pointed to a white canvas, which he reverently lifted away to reveal nothing other than a speaker’s platform.
The gardener, placing an affectionate hand on the still polished oak, averred, “I saw FDR himself speak from this platform.”
“Really?” the impressed Democrat replied. “Say, do you mind if I stand on it?”
“Go right ahead,” the gardener replied.
Then the congressman in quest of wisdom mounted the platform and consulted his inspiration. Suddenly, the elusive grail he had sought dropped from an unseen height in the ceiling-works of his mind right onto the floor of it with a startling bang. What the Democratic Party had to do was what FDR did. Build a platform made out of good, solid oak, instead of one made out of the usual Formica – something real and convincing, instead of a trifle easily perceived by any conning voter as a contrived and dismissible fake.
Now, enlivened by his inspiration and being a bit of a historian, he found his mind wandering back to The New Deal. He considered FDR’s oak-solid programs for rejuvenating the economy and rebuilding the middle class. Could, he wondered, the sentiments behind those now seemingly outmoded denotations be reinterpreted for today, even given our comparatively cynical and rapacious mindsets?
Then, like a pile of lumber cascading onto his contemplative brow, the new Democratic Platform came to him. We ought to build it, one plank at a time, he advised himself, with the issues that the generally strapped and somewhat befuddled middle-class American is actually concerned about. And, tempting as the prospect might be to many of our members, we shouldn’t, if we want to get elected, tack on any wood that’s bound to look out of place to a lot of Americans. We should just stick with the mighty oak.
Inspirited with his remarkable new vision, he thanked the gardener with a handshake so enthusiastic it cramped the fellow’s spaying prowess for a few minutes. Then he bolted out of the basement and bounded onto the first flight back to Washington.
While dreaming of electoral victories fluttering down on the party like confetti, he considered how he might convince the majority of his party of his vision. Given their welcome but often self-defeating diversity, was there any possibility of unity? Realizing he had a daunting deal of work ahead for himself, he let out the sort of sigh that is so unexpectedly audible it always startles the one who perpetrates it.
A passing stewardess happened to hear his exhalation, and asked, “Are you OK?”
“Yes, I just wish my party was.”
“What party?” the stewardess asked. “Maybe I can help. I’m only a stewardess part-time.”
“Really?” he asked.
“Yes, my husband and I both have to work to make ends meet. And this job doesn’t pay enough. It’s not very secure, either. I’m sure you know, the airline is in bankruptcy.”
“I heard about that,” he admitted.
“Yes, it’s a shame,” she herself sighed, and then turned to bright-eyed affirmation. “So I started my own business.”
“What kind of business?” he inquired.
“Just what you need,” she advised him, putting her hand on his shoulder and smiling as engagingly as she could manage. “I’m a party planner.”