A Short Talk with the President



I happened to be at Politics and Prose for small business Saturday with my 93 year old mother when the president came in with his daughters. She is the grey haired lady (just got a haircut that morning!) behind Sasha's left shoulder. I confess to turning into a complete groupie in the presence of Obama's rockstar good looks and beautiful daughters, and their complete coolness.

A voice in the back of my head kept saying, though, as I was craning for a better shot from my woefully underpowered cell phone camera, here you are within speaking distance of the president of the USA, what would Code Pink want you to say to him?

Eventually a sentence formed in my head that I thought got to the gist of things without risking my getting tackled by the Secret Service (I'm not as brave as the Code Pink women) and in a quiet moment while he was at the register summoned up as clear and loud a voice as I could to say "Hope you can close Guantanamo!" He replied "We're working on it, thank you." and turned to the rest of the room to ask "Any more issues?" And then turned back and flashed a huge smile, the kind that melts away the world around you.


So, yes, there *are* more issues -- the extra-judicial and civilian killings by remote control drones across the world, the government secrecy and punishment of whistle-blowers, those are two. But now that the president doesn't have any more elections to worry about, I'm hopeful that he can do a lot from his office to advance the values he was elected to represent. I believe he has a sound vision for a comprehensive peace and a real sense of social justice. He could have bargained harder with the bankers and Republicans instead of saying "I'm only the president..." and I only hope that the next election cycle doesn't push this country deeper into aggression, plutocracy and xenophobia.

Ferguson is evidence of this country's searing racial and social inequities, and how much greater the need is than can be met by electing (and re-electing) one African-American president. However, he has done a lot against overwhelming odds, quietly and gracefully opening the door to a new world.

Here's to the next two years and a long future as former president for Barack Obama, to continue working for the change he campaigned for, and fulfilling the promise offered to so many disenfranchised Americans and world citizens. And earning that Nobel peace prize...

Never forget to remind our leaders from whom they receive their mandate, and let us never stop pushing for justice and peace.

And also, keep buying books...

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