The Starbuck's 7 on the Presidency
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Ron Cruger
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           It wasn’t a typical southern California day. The temperature barely reached sixty degrees. The wind blew and the rains came. All in all it was a day to stay inside and read or watch television.
          The Starbuck’s 7 had scheduled a monthly meeting in the outside patio area of their favorite coffee house, but due to the cold, wind and rain it was moved indoors.
          As usual, Dick the oldest member of the 7, arrived first for the meeting. Seeing the inclement weather, he began by getting an inside corner area of Starbuck’s ready for the group’s meeting. He pushed two tables together, forming a rectangle that could seat the seven members. Then he slid seven chairs around the tables. Just then Helaine, the 50-year old member greeted Dick with, “Hiya, hiya. Good to see you again.” They shook hands.
          The two walked to the nearby counter and ordered their drinks. A large, regular coffee for Dick and a cappuccino for Helaine. They carried their orders to the large table and sat. Dick at the head and Helaine to his right.
          Walking in together were Mary, Steve and Aimee. Mary, thirty-nine years old and attractive, waved to the two sitting members as she, Steve and Aimee walked to the area where two baristas stood waiting. Mary ordered her caramel macchiato, Steve, an expresso and Aimee a caffe latte. After being served their drinks the three sat down.
          Next to arrive was Helen, the tall, thin, highly logical member who always ordered a large caffe mocha. I arrived last and ordered my usual small decaf coffee.
          Dick called the meeting of the Starbuck’s 7 to order. “Hi, everyone, welcome. Today we’re here to discuss the current president of the United States. We want to have a discourse on whether he should be re-elected – or not. I’ll start by saying that I don’t want him to be re-elected, but I don’t know who I’d vote for to take his place.”
          Helaine, appearing unsettled, replied, “Y’know, Dick, I realize you’ve never liked President Obama, but I’m not sure why. The man took over a giant mess in Washington and all over the country. High unemployment existed, the financial problems had just been uncovered and Congress was already faltering. What did you expect the man to do? We’re just starting to come out of the troubles he inherited when he took office. I say he deserves another term. He’s been good for the country.”
          Steve, the handsome, 43-year old, athletic, black man raised his hand with his index finger upward, to indicate he wanted to speak. “Look, I’m a black man and so is the president, but I can see what he is and what he does clearly without prejudice. There’s no doubt that president Obama leans more to the left than to the right. That’s what he is. He surely feels that it is the government’s job to give aid to the poor, the unemployed and the indigent and needy. I’ve thought about what he’s doing and I think he’s mostly correct, but not totally. I don’t like what he’s done with Obama- Care. I don’t like the government this closely tied to our health care. The government shouldn’t be involved with these health decisions. Part of what happened with Obama-Care is that Congress did nothing to ease the suffering of our people so the president had to act. His background of the government acting to help its citizens is admirable, but at times it’s too much.”
          “I think it’s time we admitted that the president has gone too far. He’s slowly turning one thing after another into quasi-socialist entities. Government has grown, cost for government is rising, health care is becoming a government-run business.” Mary, took a deep breath and continued. “I think one of the big problems that our country has been facing is the inability of Congress to accomplish anything of importance. The struggles between Republicans and Democrats has caused the country to stagnate. In a way I understand the president’s frustrations. One of our giant problems is that our government doesn’t function very well anymore. It all boils down to the Republicans and Democrats staging war between them to the point of nothing else happening.”
          Aimee, Asian and liberal grits her teeth when she even hears the words Rush Limbaugh mentioned. She sipped her caffe latte, looked at Dick and said, “When I think of all the things that president Obama has done for this country I just don’t understand how anyone could vote for anyone else. He’s had to do a lot all by himself because of the fights between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress. I think that president Obama, his wife and his children have set great examples for this country. The president has shown what a great leader he is. He’s kept his promises. He said we would get out of Iraq and we have. Now we’re preparing to leave Afghanistan. And one more thing, I think the president is a great leader. He doesn’t rush into serious decisions. He and his advisors take the steady, intelligent approach to things. I don’t think Mr. Obama gets enough credit for the great job he’s doing.”
          Fifty two years old, highly successful in the computer field, Helen has proved to be a strong, conservative leader with clear and forceful opinions. “I’m very worried about what’s going on in this country. We have a president that should just stand up and admit he’s a socialist. Everything he does says, ‘Socialist.’ He wants to take money from the rich and give it to the poor. He wants to do everything he can to even out America. He’s hurt businesses and he’s taking aim at those people who are successful and wants to punish them for thriving. America’s reputation has lessened around the world. He apologizes to countries that hate us and we continue to pour our money into other countries that are really our enemies. I’m worried about what will happen to this country if he’s elected in November. It’ll be a disaster.”
          I had listened to each of the six members express their feelings about president Obama. Both sides had merit. I spoke my piece about my beliefs. There’s no doubt that the president leans towards the left. He believes that it is government’s role to become involved in areas of American citizens’ lives. I disagree with this approach, although there are certain situations where the government must act to avert disasters to the economy or our national security and standing. I told my fellow members that I have concern about who could lead this country if not Obama. I’m not impressed with Romney or Santorum. I don’t think either could run this country and improve things. America has become a highly complex entity. So many of the approaches and solutions that were used before don’t work anymore. The problems the nation faces can be solved only by the cooperation between honest, dedicated men and women facing the difficulties, working together and finding legitimate and valid solutions to the dilemmas and predicaments of our times. The president alone cannot be asked to be the single solution. A whole new way of operating and cooperating must be found. Our next president must raise the spirit of synergy and teamwork in Washington if our nation is to move ahead and thrive. It will, indeed, take a very special and unique human being to assume that role.
          At this point, Dick stood, slid his chair back and said, “Well, folks, seems we’ve covered just about every point about the president. I just hope that Americans will take this coming election more seriously than any other in their lifetimes. The United States is, indeed, at a crossroads. The secret ingredient for our future is having more Americans involved with their government and its elections. Let’s hope everyone understands the importance of being involved. See you next time.”
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