Sunday, December 1, 2013

179. Presidents

“Looks like some folks are pissed off at the President.”

With these words, C.W. plopped himself onto the couch and began eating an apple. He tilted his Stetson hat to the back of his head and crossed one leg over the other. His boots were of dark leather and as polished as his oversized belt buckle.

I said, “What the hell are you supposed to be, a cowboy?”

He smiled and chewed his apple. “Just a citizen of the world, Pilgrim.”

“Oh please,” I said.

“I been studyin’,” he said. “Studyin’ about the presidency.”

“I fear for us all,” I said. “Are you the second coming of George W. Bush?”

“Who was he?” He laughed, then added. “Just kidding.”

“So what have you learned? I’m terribly interested.”

“Sarcasm won’t get you nowhere,” he said.

“Sorry,” I said. “Go on.”

“Well,” he said. “Seems a large group of folks gets really irritated with the president of these here United Sates from time to time.” He pronounced it “yooo-nited.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Like when that feller Lincoln freed those who were the legal property of another and forced to obey them.”

“Lincoln didn’t free the wives,” I said, unable to resist screwing around with him. "You need to adjust your Galactic Universal Translator.”

“I trust my GUT,” he said.

“You Texans seem to have a problem with that.”

He ignored me. “Anyway, it was the coloreds that he freed.”

“We don’t call folks that anymore.”

“And it really pissed some people off.”

“It did indeed.” I decided to let him continue.

“Then there was the furor that the second Roosevelt caused when he enacted them programs to help the poor and elderly, you know, some of the least of those among you.”


“Oh,” he said, “and look what happened when Harry Truman integrated the armed services.”

“Not pretty.”

“Nope. Seems like his policy of ‘if he fights alongside you he can sleep alongside you’ didn’t set too well with some.”

“You do have a point.”

“And lord,” he said. “I don’t have to tell you what happened when Eisenhower and Kennedy took on the educational system in our southern provinces.”

“Uh. No.”

“They’s folks still pissed about that and you see what it has caused: the motion of an object emitting all spectra of light it receives in or through a medium, especially through the earth's atmosphere or through space.”

“White flight,” I said.

“Ain’t that what I just said?”

Never misunderestimate the fact that, where
politics are concerned, a good smile and a
good hat get a person a lot further than doing
good deeds. Hell, a person won't need no
 "nucular option" then. Heh. Heh. - C.W.
“Please continue.” He was beginning to make a point.

“The passage of the civil rights acts of the 1960s by our native son—who by the way we don’t claim no more—Lyndon Baines Johnson cost his party the south. Maybe forever.”

“But look at the good the laws did.”

“My point,’ he said. “It seems to me that if a president wants to get his ass in a crack, the fastest way to do that is to try to help folks. Look at this current occupant.”

What could I say? “So your advice?”

He thought. “I reckon it’s this. If you want to be beloved by some people, cut out all that ‘do-gooder crap.’ Do no good. That’ll get an airport named after you faster than anything.”

“But what about the people who need help?”

“There you go again,” he said.

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