Monday, January 19, 2009

on being Obama

So much interesting about this inauguration. SO MUCH. Obama's daughter telling him his speech better be good because he is the first African American president. His wife by his side, a real person who is a role model even to this white middle aged woman. His team. John McCain being consulted on issues. The response of the people.

A tattoo parlor offering a free Obama tattoo with any purchased tatt. Now that is a good two-fer. And the girl who checked out our groceries at WallyWorld today - the cutest African American kid, hair in braids and foxy little clothes. She was smart. We talked about Obama. Her best line, "When he got voted in people came in here and treated me like I was the only one who voted. I told them, I'm not the only one who voted him in. Don't you go looking at me that way." I liked her. Her name was Ruth.

The best part of my day was outside in my garden. The roses should have been cut back in the fall but I was busy. Today was a cold day to do the pruning but it seemed right. I was thinking about being president, and what a good constellation of requirements should be of any person seeking the job.

1. There should be a White House garden (a REAL garden by the way, with herbs and petunias and infestations of Japanese beetles, not just big square bushes and roses), and the president be required to spend at least two hours a week working in the dirt with his/her hands. A garden makes people reflective, and kind.

2. The president should have been present at a birth of a child. I think I would specify that be a NATURAL childbirth so they could get a feel for the whole experience. A life could not be taken for granted when you experience the cost.

3. The presidential resume should include at least one month as a server in a low budget restaurant - to get a feeling for what it is like to have to be the one who serves without fanfare. When you have worked for almost nothing, been treated like you are invisible and then learned to respond with grace you have acquired almost everything you need to be a leader.

4. The president should have learned to play an instrument to teach patience and attention to detail, not to mention a love of art. Once a month that instrument should be taken out to remind the president that he is a person just like everyone else, and has a song to play, but it is not every song there is.

5. The president should anonymously (perhaps wearing a rubber nose as a disguise) attend regular AA meetings for the first year of his/her presidency. I know of no place that is more humanizing and life supporting than a healthy AA group. Such a group would keep the president's feet on the ground. Maybe save his/her sanity.

So...that's a few I came up with. Such a plan might infringe on presidential duties - taking up valuable time usually spent at expensive dinners and high level briefings. But I just can't help think we would all be a little safer. Any other suggestions?


Krissi said...

I think the president should have to work as a cashier for a month (at least) at Wal-Mart, so he or she can feel what it is like to work at the bottom of the rung where you don't matter as an individual and are totally replaceable...and you can't afford health benefits.

This is beautiful, Marilyn. Really. And I'm so &*%$#!@ excited about the inauguration!

Kathy said...

I agree with Krissi, this is just beautiful.

Mrs Moose said...

Walking a mile in someone's shoes ... keith was telling me that he heard some commentary on NPR that as Obama was being briefed daily on the status of national security threats that we begin to hear more and more the words of Obama sounding like Bush. I thought that was deeply interesting... that i might criticize Bush less if I had to walk a mile in his shoes. Ironically it is my own experience as well... i rarely criticize pastors anymore (and you know my history :) ).

I've walk a mile - or two - in their shoes and it has sillenced me. j.