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The new president - 2009
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 by Ron Cruger
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C
        The newly elected president of the United States was jubilant. After a year of devoting his every moment to getting elected he wanted to take just one week to be with his family.
         He had won the election by less than forty five thousand of the popular vote. It was the closest election in United States’ history. The ballots from the state of Hawaii had given the election to him. But now he was tired, worn out, dragging.
         He had promised his wife and children that within the first week after the election, win or lose, he would take them to Hawaii for a week. He had kept his promise. They had all spent a week on Maui, snorkeling, kayaking, playing tennis and, best of all, taking a pleasant cruise on a catamaran to the island of Lanai and enjoying a Hawaiian style picnic on the beach of the Pineapple Isle.
         Now he was back in Washington, tanned, fit and ready to get to work.
         As he had promised in his campaign, he was going to meet with every member of the sitting President’s cabinet. He wanted to hear first hand of the problems he would be acquiring upon being sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.
         As a Senator he was aware of the nation’s difficulties but he wanted to know the details of every quandary of which he would be heir. He stipulated that the meetings be held in the offices of the Cabinet Secretaries.
         The day following the election his aides began making appointments with the heads of the President’s cabinet. The day following the winner’s return from Hawaii he would be scheduled for meetings with the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs. The other Secretaries of the Cabinet would be meeting with the president-elect during the following three weeks.
         The meeting with the Secretary of Labor lasted three hours. The focal point of the conference was the high percentage of unemployment in the country and the continuing escape of jobs to India, China and other scores of other countries around the globe. The Secretary expressed his fear of an even larger unemployment base in the next four to five years. With the jobless rate approaching six percent the Secretary was fearful of a nineteen twenty nine type depression.
         Two days later the President-Elect was sitting in the office of the Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs. The Secretary made it clear that he, along with hundreds of thousands of service veterans, was defiantly unhappy with the state of veteran’s medical care and benefits. He urged a much greater portion of the annual tax receipts be devoted to the care of America’s veterans.
         Later the same week the President to-be sat in the luxurious office of the Secretary of Commerce and learned that U.S. auto sales had recently slumped to a sixteen year low. To make matters even worse, General Motors had suffered another titanic quarterly loss of over fifteen billion dollars, matching its second quarter loss.
         The Secretary of Defense warmly greeted the new President. They had known each other for the past two decades. The President-elect knew he would get the straight stuff from the Secretary.
         The ongoing war in Iraq and the uncertainty of what the next day would bring dominated the Secretary’s briefing. He told the new President that there was always a danger of a massive attack by a united Islamic fundamental force. In the event of such an attack United State’s forces would be overwhelmed. He reported that the war in Afghanistan could possible last for decades and even then a positive outcome could not be forecasted. The Secretary added that Iran appears to be headed to the creation of five nuclear weapons and Israel appears to be readying a strike force to destroy the sites of the creation the nuclear weapons. China continues to make threatening gestures towards Formosa and the Russians remain a force to be reckoned with. The world, according to the Secretary, remains in a volatile stance. The United States could face aggression on a number of fronts.
         The next cabinet official on the new President’s agenda was the well-respected Secretary of State. The experienced Secretary told of the difficulty of working with the members of the Iraqi government. The various sects are always close to bolting and destroying the sitting government. The Iranians remain a dilemma. Lying and confusing tactics are the backbone of their diplomacy. The entire Middle East, according to the Secretary will remain a hotbed of anti-American feelings. As China grows economically it will also enlarge its military base and before long will become the strongest military presence on Earth.
         The Secretary of the Treasury had a PowerPoint presentation ready for the President-elect. During the half hour presentation the Secretary outlined the dwindling value of the U.S. dollar abroad. He discussed the weakened state of the country’s economy, much of it due to the mortgage loan fiasco that has bankrupted or nearly bankrupted scores of banks. He illustrated his recent meetings with world leaders and their serious concerns about the U.S. economy. America’s reliance on foreign oil continues to lead the flow of U.S. dollars abroad. The Secretary, when alone with the new President, told him confidentially of the fear of the collapse of two of America’s most famous banking institutions. The Federal government was doing everything possible to avoid the collapse, which would cause a monumental lessening of confidence in the American economy. The Secretary saved for last his overriding fear – that the United States will face a deficit of half a trillion dollars by the time of the inauguration of the new President. The shifting of some tax burdens from the middle class to the rich will not be nearly enough to avoid the result of years of monumental careless governmental spending. The Secretary said that the only answer would be drastic cuts in future spending and greatly increased taxes for all Americans.
         The Secretary of Homeland Security asked that the new President meet alone with him. The subjects were highly confidential.
         The Secretary explained that during recent months there have been more reasons for increased security in the country. “Noise” on the internet and among informers indicate large, destructive “events” planned for several large cities in the United States. Homeland Security has been unable to pinpoint the originators of the plan or the locations of the attacks, but intelligence indicates that the multiple assaults will be of the same magnitude as the World Trade Center attacks.
         Hundreds of thousands of miles of America’s roads are in desperate need of repair and replacement according the Secretary of Transportation. Thousands of bridges have passed the dates for their replacement. Hundreds of dams show an urgent need for repair and replacement. The President-elect thanked the Secretary for his time and for the information about America’s infrastructure.
         America’s new President concluded his series of meetings with the Secretaries of Agriculture, Justice, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development. He had kept his promises, made during the campaign.
         The new President, finished with his Cabinet meetings, took his wife to his favorite small, oceanfront hotel in Maine, where the two were unavailable to reporters. Gossip grew as the two were seen walking quietly on the beach. No press releases were written. No interviews. No contact with either the President-elect or his wife. The week passed quickly and the day of the inauguration came. January 20, 2009
         It was cold and windy in Washington. Hundreds of thousands of excited Americans gathered on the streets of Washington. Pennsylvania Avenue was wall to wall bodies.
         The west front of the Capital building was decked out with bunting and American flags, flying in the wind. The sun shone brightly for the inauguration of the forty fourth president of the United States.
         The Marine band played “Hail to the Chief.” Congressmen, Senators, Justices of the Supreme Court and all the Cabinet Secretaries sat behind where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stood alongside the outgoing President and the new President and his wife.
         The band ended “Hail to the Chief” and a sudden quiet prevailed. The new President looked out over the hundreds of thousands of Americans standing in anticipation of his inauguration.
         He could hear the flapping of the scores of American flags surrounding him.
         The Chief Justice held out the bible, looked in the eyes of the new President and began, “Please place your right hand….”
         The President-elect looked behind him, at the assembled legislators, Cabinet members, former President, Supreme Court Justices and interested parties. His eyes swept over the hundreds of thousands of hopeful Americans, braving the cold weather to get a glimpse of their new leader.
         Then the President-elect removed his right hand from the bible, smiled at the Chief Justice, offered a loving smile to his wife and said, “I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want the job.”
         The President-elect and his wife held hands as they excused themselves and walked up the temporary bleachers past the assembled dignitaries.
         The fresh wind felt good as it gusted around them.
         They both listened again to the American flags flapping around them as they prepared to go home.