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by Ron Cruger
The Starbuck's Seven Discuss Trump's First Year as President
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        Dick, the un-official, but acknowledged leader of the Starbuck’s Seven, took his first sip of strong, black coffee and urged the others in the group to join him in the seating area in the rear of the local Starbuck’s caffeine emporium.
       Steve, the 45 year old black man helped Dick move chairs and two tables to accommodate the group’s membership.
       Helaine, 52 years old, turned towards Mary, 46 years old and quietly said, “I’ve been waiting for this meeting since the election. There’s so much to talk about.”
       The seven members carried their coffee drinks to the meeting area and sat around the two tables pushed together.
       As soon as the Seven sat around the table Dick stood and announced, “If it’s okay with everyone here we’ll discuss President Trump’s election and first year in office. Are we okay with this topic? If we are, Steve, why don’t you start.”
Steve, athletic, smart and a graduate of Harvard, remained sitting with his cup of caffe’e latte in front of him. “I’d like to read to you comments made about the President made recently by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake” Standing to read the comments, Steve quietly offered, “No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions. An American president who cannot take criticism - who must constantly deflect and distort, who must find someone else to blame – is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the President adds to the danger.”
      Helen, the fifty five year old most conservative of the group, stood, gave her cup of carmel macchiato a nudge towards the center of the table and spoke with a tremor of anger in her voice. “Now wait a minute. We all know that the media has declared war on President Trump. Outlets like CNN make up stories and offer lies and distortions to almost everything he says or does. It’s President Trump against the media. Why, one web site has a lead story about ‘Donald Trump says Something that isn’t true 5.5 times a day. Every day.’
       Alarmed at the tenor of the charges, Aimee, the 50 year old Asian, gently pushed her chair away from the table, and responded, “President Trump is different than any president the United States has ever known. He’s brave and fearless. He tells it like it is. He’s getting more done in less time than any president in our history. He’s keeping his promises to the American people. He said he would lower our taxes and he has. He said he would make our borders safer and he’s doing that. The problem is the Democrats and the liberals in the media are fighting him every inch of the way, so it’s hard for him to get things done.”
       Steve excused himself to get another cup of caff’e latte and upon returning to the meeting table said, “I’ll tell you what gets me. It’s that this Trump guy can get away with all sorts of things that would impeach anyone else. He’s like pure Teflon. He insults women in a variety of ways, his affronts towards women are shocking and recorded, he is labeled as a racist. Due to his actions and beliefs the image of the United States is faltering around the world, and yet, there are millions in this country who laud his actions and beliefs. There are serious doubts in this land of whether the man can be trusted to be in the same room with the button that controls nuclear warfare. I just don’t know how he remains our president.”
       Mary, in her early 40’s, shy and a small town girl, raised her right arm and said, “I don’t want to get into an argument, but hasn’t President Trump done some good things too? Didn’t he lower our taxes and doesn’t he want to make our country safer? Isn’t he doing a lot of things that would make America better? It does seem that the media enjoys getting on his case. Why don’t they treat him better?”
Dick took a swig of his by now cold coffee and stood.
      “I’ve been listening to this back-and-forth for a half an hour or so and I’m dumfounded. Here we have a man, who shocked the hell out of all of us by being elected based on a bunch of ‘John Wayne’ type promises to fix America’s problems and to pull out of signed agreements with other nations of the world. He was elected because he promised that he wasn’t going to be like all our other presidents. I’ll give him credit – he’s not like any president this country has ever had.”
       “This is a man who is accused of denigrating women, reducing them to ‘ things” Here’s a man who maligns various religions and nations. Here is a man who has serious self-control problems, who gives the appearance of not understanding his own presidency. Of not being familiar or understanding the workings of Washington or the nation’s politics. Here is a man who is under constant criticism for his past relationships with women for hire. We have, indeed, a man unlike any other that has resided in the Oval Office or any office in Washington for that matter.
With that Dick sat down, took a deep breath and said, “Ron, your thoughts, please.”
       “There resides in this country of ours a hope, a dream that this current president will grow and be great. My dream is not that he will bring back the greatness that was America. America was great and remains great. My question is – will this president be able to remain perched in the Oval Office as our country’s greatness continues. Each passing day of his presidency leaves us with doubt.”
       Dick, with both of his palms flat on the table in front of him pushed away from the table, stood and reported, “Well, that was some meeting of the ‘Starbuck’s Seven.”
       We could all use some fresh air. We’ll meet again in a few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy life and God bless America.”
       Steve rose and muttered under his breath,”Amen.”