It was 1948 and President Truman was fighting for his political life. The Man from Missouri had his back to the wall and was the underdog to his Republican Opponent, Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York. It is poignant to remember that Truman is today considered a Conservative Hero to many Conservative Democrats; and that Harry Truman in 1948 advocated National Health Insurance, the repeal of the Anti-Union Taft-Hartley Act and an aggressive Civil Rights Program.
The President began an aggressive 22,000 mile “Whistle Stop Tour” crisscrossing the United States. Truman would give “whistle-stop” speeches from the rear platform of his train car The Ferdinand Magellan. The Whistle Stop Tour grew more popular and as time went on, the events began to draw thousands, when folks found out that the Presidential train was coming to their town.
This story is handed down from that Whistle Stop Tour. As the train was passing some remote area in the farm country, people were gathering alongside the tracks just to watch the Presidential Train pass. At one area, the crowd along the tracks was so large that the President desired to stop the train in the middle of nowhere and the address thousand or so who had turned out.
There was an old fallen-down barn close to the tracks and next to the barn a large manure pile that had obviously been cleaned out of the barn and had composted over several years. The local farmers decided to make a platform for the President, so they began pulling planks off the barn and constructing a platform on top of the manure pile. The President, a farm boy himself, appreciated their efforts, and with help, mounted the platform. The crowd grew hushed and the President began to speak, “I appreciate your building this platform on top of this manure pile, but I have to tell you, this is the first time I ever made a speech from a Republican Platform!”
I do not know if I have related the story in an adequate fashion, but I believe it is significant to note that Republican policies toward health care, working people and Civil Rights has not progressed since 1948. If anything, they may have regressed to Civil war days. The Republican Platform on these important issues is still “a pile of manure” to the working people of this country. We deserve better.