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 by Ron Cruger
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Starbuck's Seven discuss Barack Obama
        Aimee was the first member of the Starbuck’s Seven to arrive. She looked around for another member of the group when she spied Steve. Aimee was a thirty –five year old attractive Asian. She took a few steps to the counter and ordered her usual cafe latte. Steve, black, handsome and athletic headed for his forty fourth birthday in a week, followed Aimee to the counter and ordered an espresso.
        The pair located two empty table towards the rear of the Starbuck’s and pushed them together, making room for themselves and the five other members of the group. They arranged the chairs and waited for the five others.
        Helen, fifty three years old. thin and the acknowledged smartest in the group. Ordered her cafe mocha and joined Aimee and Steve at the tables.
        Mary, thirty nine years old and vocal, uses logic and a lot of common sense when the group discusses important subjects. She has a great sense of history and usually defends President Obama without reservation. Mary carried her caramel macchiato to the table and sat down.
        Helaine, tall and graceful, now into her early fifties, was pleasant, somewhat liberal in her leanings and had a fair amount of criticism of President Obama. She sipped her cappuccino as she walked to the tables.
        Usually first to arrive, but late this morning, sixty six year old Dick ordered his usual large regular coffee. Dick was thin, short-tempered and often complained about everything. He doesn’t like politicians, especially Democrats. Dick serves as the moderator of the group.
        Last to arrive, the oldest of the group, I carried my small decaf coffee and found the last vacant chair.
        Dick organized his coffee, napkins, pencil, notes and stood. “Welcome again to our regular monthly meeting of the ‘Starbuck’s Seven,’ we’ve agreed in advance that today’s topic will be our President, Barack Obama. Who would like to start?”
        Mary waved her hand. “As you know, I’ve always supported President Obama, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to be on his side. This latest debacle with the ‘Obamacare’ law has pushed me to the other side. I just can’t defend him as I once did. I still think he’s a decent man, but he just doesn’t have the experience and knowledge to run this country. I think that more and more Americans are having doubts about him and this latest screw-up of ‘Obamacare’ pushed even more people against him.”
        “Hey, hold on, a lot of the problems that are popping up are because the Republicans and especially the ‘Tea Party” people set out to destroy ‘Obamacare.” Steve had some strong feelings about piling the blame on the president. “ I have no doubts that ‘Obamacare’ would have worked better if there wasn’t such a negative Republican onslaught against it to start with.”
        Helen, always relying more on logic than the visceral, added, “Look, there’s more to this than just ‘Obamacare.’ I think that even many Democrats have lost faith in the president. Take the Iran problem. First he was strong about forcing Iran to get rid of all their nuclear weapons immediately, now he’s backing off. He waffles on so many different things. American’s confidence in the president is fading.”
        I felt that I had to join the fray. “Look, I voted for the guy. I liked what he said about not playing ‘politics as usual.’ But, there have been so many things that have just not happened under this presidency and ‘Obamacare’ is just one of them. Let’s face it, with millions of Americans losing their health insurance in the middle of this mess, things are looking bad for the president and also for millions of Americans.”
        Helaine, usually the least vocal of the members, sipped on her cappuccino, swallowed and said, “I agree with Ron, this latest goof-up, of having millions of Americans lose their health care insurance is enough to turn me against him. Think of the misery these millions of Americans now have in their lives. His apologies aren’t enough for me. Him and his administration better do something to help these people, or he’ll be facing a real revolt in this country.”
        Aimee, whose father is one of the richest men in Hong Kong, has always been a supporter of President Obama. She considers men like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck as serious enemies of the state. “President Obama, on his election, took over a country that was in terrible condition. I think he’s done a great job in bringing our economy up and getting Americans back to work. He’s working hard to make things right. I still think he’s doing a great job.”
        Dick, a solid conservative, pushed his chair back and stood. He was bursting with opinion. “I’ve listened to each of you, some defending the president and some not so sure of how you feel. Well, I’ll tell you my feelings. This president has left so many things un-done. Our economy is still struggling, he’s not sure about building that oil pipeline from Canada, the Syria problem is still active and unsettled, America’s energy dependence is still a problem and millions of Americans are still on unemployment, unable to find work as factories in Asia are booming, producing American goods. The biggest thing is the leadership, it just isn’t there. America wants a president that leads and we don’t have one.”
        Steve, sitting next to Dick, rose, thought about what he was about to say, and remarked, “I support President Obama. I admit he hasn’t finished some of the things he’s set out to do, but he’s operating in a world that is electric with danger. He’s kept us out of war, and he’s starting to improve things in many areas. I say we should give him a chance to finish what he started and to do that it means the Republican party and the ‘Tea Party’ have to stop doing everything they can to see him fail. No president can succeed with the Republican party’s goal being the failure of any and all plans the Democrats propose.”
        Dick rapped on the table with his knuckles, calling the meeting over. “See ya next month. Okay.”
        Helen, took a last sip of her caffe mocha and prepared to leave the meeting with the others. She turned to Dick and the rest of the ‘Starbuck’s Seven’ and said, “Maybe it is time for Americans to start working together. Who knows what might happen if we did.”