When my friend Brian Foley sent me a copy of the Republican Party Platform of 1956, I had to ask him whether he was acting as a law professor (which he is) or as a stand-up comic and author of a very funny book (which he also is).
"You read it. And then you decide," he told me. "But read it," he exhorted.
OK, with such a challenge how could I refuse?
Would the platform bring me visions of Dickens' Scrooge? Or would it be more like Florence Nightingale?
Only time would tell, so I jumped in feet first.
The Platform that year was 49 pages long. I couldn't possibly critique it all. So I decided to look at a few 1956 issues that are still issues today, and one or two issues today that seem to have been hidden in plain sight back then. That, plus stuff that just jumped off the page into my computer!
Maybe a bit of context would help the reader (maybe the writer as well). 1956 was the year our President, Dwight David Eisenhower -- Ike -- was running for his second term. His first term is sometimes described as "quiet" -- decompressing from World War Two.
But no sooner that war ended, we began the combat of the Cold War, which was expensive and also shaped the national psyche for generations to come. There was the Korean War, to which an "honorable" peace had come. There were what we then called "The Communist Chinese" -- once brave allies in the hot war, now being denied by the US a seat at the UN Security Council.