Monday, November 18, 2013

A Caucus of Real People

If you were allowed to discuss one thing with the President of the United States, what would it be? How relevant would his work be to what you do every day? Would you even listen to him? Let's imagine he would have time to listen to you. Would you set the metaphorical fire to his feet, would you grovel and coo, or would you get down to business?

Would you clean your house before he came? Oh, that would be difficult wouldn't it? Secret service would have to inspect your basement. For me, mortifying. That would be impetus to clean that room that has become a storage area, wouldn't it?

This morning, I awoke to the thought that it would be good for the country to have a group of PTA moms in discussion with the President. I started to imagine the ordinary people I'd gather to advise him. I'd offer him a mocha and I'd have to make pie because I'm proud of my pie. And sure, I'd clean my house, but if I tried to do too much, it wouldn't be real and more than anything, I'd want something like this to ring true. Is it even possible for an average person to act normal around the President? I would have to try. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time.

Then, who else would I invite?

First, I'd invite my PTA friends and the people who volunteer at Nick's schools. Those ladies get things accomplished. If you exchanged them for the President's advisers for just one month, they'd clean house. Education would be their forte. They would push for more complete funding of our schools, better support for the teachers, for better curriculum, for an emphasis on technology, and for reinstatement of PE. That would be a good start. Plus, every meeting would have coffee, muffins, and fruit. I just know it would.

Then, imagine the Boy Scout troop in conversation with the President. Would the men allow the boys to lead that conversation? My Mike would try to do it that way. I know he would and our boys would rise to the occasion and give it a go. Talk about earning their Citizenship in the Nation badge. Can you imagine the parents trying to influence what their kids discussed and making sure they wore a clean shirt to meet the President? What would these boys change about the way our nation is run, given the chance? What is important to them? Oh, if I even guessed, it would have the ring of an old fart.

If I could, I'd put President Obama and the First Lady, Michelle, in a room with spiritual people from my church. There would be coffee. There would be casseroles. They could discuss the separation of church and state, tolerance, and the state of war. Actually, I think the President has already addressed the problems with the wars our country was engaged in. Still, there would be moral dilemmas such as the people at Guantanamo and our involvement in Syria. Yes, my church leaders would make a great panel to discussion those problems.

Oh, and my quilt group. Wouldn't that be a hoot? These women cross into all kinds of categories. One of our members is in the Philippines right now, aiding the people there. Federal Aid would be her area of expertise, and maybe foreign policy since she travels so often. Another woman works for the Department of Transportation and I'm sure she'd have something to say about the infrastructure. We have a teacher, a woman who retired from Navy intelligence, world travelers, and a proponent of natural mothering. That would involve conversations about women in the military, alternate measures of the healthcare system, and again, education. Do you see a trend in the needs of our country to educate its children? Yes, if I had to pick just one cross section of my friends to introduce to President Obama, to advise President Obama, it would be my quilt group. They are smart, well-traveled, varied in their experiences, outspoken, and range from conservative to liberal. And they're funny. Yes, that meeting would be a fascinating one.

I might have to include my friends in far places in these discussions. I know that my friends in New Jersey have different views about the effects of hurricane Sandy than I do. I know that my Midwestern friends have a different view on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To be a truly representative cross-section of the country's people, I'd have to include them in this imaginary caucus too.

What I'd ask all of these people is this: What are your concerns for our country and how would you begin to solve these problems? It's an interesting thought, isn't it? Who would you pick from the people that you know?

I don't know why I've spent so much time thinking about this. I just imagine that the President, at this point, has been getting a stilted view of the people he serves. Can't you imagine how insular it could become after five years in the White House? Has he spoken to anybody in the past year that hasn't offered a thousand dollars a plate, hoped for a photo opportunity, or had a corporate agenda? Does he even know what the average family struggles with on a daily basis?

I would venture to guess that he doesn't. How could he?

Thank you for listening, jb

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