My dream of meeting the President
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         The book was terrific. The recliner was incredibly comfortable. I knew I would be falling asleep before I had turned the first ten pages. It was a coolish, rainy afternoon and my Saturday chores were all done. The lawns were mowed and edged. I had repainted the garage door and vacuumed the inside of the cars.
          It was definitely time to relax.
          I loved the recliner. I loved the leathery smell and the way my body sinks into the cushions. So, on this particular Saturday afternoon I had the book, my legs were resting on the extension and I was getting drowsy.
          I didn’t feel the book fall on my lap. Silence.
          The telephone in the kitchen was ringing. I presumed that my wife had picked up the receiver because the ringing stopped.
          “It’s for you,” she said.
          “Who is it.”
          “I’m not sure. They said it was the White House.”
          “The White House. The lady said she was calling from the White House, someone wants to speak with you.”
          “Oh, it’s probably a joke, here, gimme the phone.”
          “Hello. Who is this?”
          “Hello, this is President Obama. I’ll be coming to your town next week and I’d like to speak with you.”
          “Uh, are you sure you want to speak with me?”
          The President of the United States repeated my name and said, “If this is you, yes, I want to speak with you next week. Will you be available?”
          “Uh, um, yes, sure, what about?”
          “I hear you’ve been critical of me and I’d like to sit down with you and hear directly about what you have to say. Is this okay with you?”
          “Yes, sure. Are you really President Obama or is that you Ward, kidding around?”
          “This is President Barrack Obama. If it’s okay I’ll be at your home next Tuesday at ten in the morning. See you then.”
          “As soon as I hung up the phone I called my friend Ward and found out the caller wasn’t him.”
          Tuesday morning came. I had shaved, showered and deodorized. I wore my best suit, the black one with tiny white stripes.
          Promptly at ten o’clock there was a strong knock on the front door.
          Our street in front of the house was filled with a dozen black SUVs. Two dozen tall young men in dark suits stood in front of the vehicles. Overhead, two black helicopters circled.
          Standing on the small front porch was the President of the United States, Barrack Obama. His thin hand reached out for mine. He said, “Thank you for seeing me. I appreciate it. May I come in?”
          “Oh, sure, sure, Mr. President. Please, please, come in.”
          The President of the United States sat on the far end of the couch. He crossed his legs.
          I sat on the other end of the couch, nervous and stiff.
          The President smiled and said, “So, I hear that you’ve been complaining about the way I communicate with the American people. It came from your friends all the way to the White House. I’m open to your suggestions. Fire away.”
          I thought, “If he’s come all this distance to listen to me I had better say something important.”
          “Well, Mr. President, I voted for you. I like you, but I think you’re losing the support of lots of people because you’re not communicating well with us.”
          The President leaned forward, “Explain what you mean.”
          “Well, every time there’s a disaster, like Katrina, or in Libya, or the tsunami in Japan you go on television and carefully and calmly explain what happened. You seem to take pains to be very accurate and fair with your explanation. Then you walk away from the podium, seemingly satisfied that you’ve done your job. I think what the American public wants from you is just a little bit more emotion. We all want to feel that you feel something. You know, like the Libya thing. I think we’d like to see you show your anger at the situation that innocent people were being slaughtered by Gadhafi. You don’t have to be like the previous president, just show us some emotions. Americans need a little bit of John Wayne in their president.”
          “I think we’d all like to see you get pissed off at the nonsense that’s going on between the Republicans and Democrats. We want to see you rise above the politics. We want to hear you say that the partisan bickering that goes on is hurting the country. We want you to do the right thing for the country regardless of whether or not the right thing is backed by Democrats or Republicans. We want you to be the president that’s above politics. Above the bickering. We don’t want to feel that any decision you make is political. We want you to forget the next election and just do the right thing. Mr. President, we want you to be one of us.”
          The President asked, “Is there more? I want to hear all you have.”
          “No, Mr. President. I think that the majority of Americans support you, we just feel that we need you to show some emotion and we want our president to be somewhat above the politics of the day. That’s it.”
          The President stood, once again reached for my hand and shook it. “Thanks. I appreciate your input. I can’t do this job by myself, you know.”
          He opened the front door, walked through and for a moment turned and looked at me. “Thanks for your help. I need people like you. I hope to see you again.”
          With that the President entered one of the big, black SUVs. In a few seconds the street was empty and quiet.
          He seemed like a nice guy.
          I opened my book and continued reading. I felt drowsy again.