I combed my hair like JFK, and practiced scribbling my signature to look as awesome as his. I mimicked his speech.
I collected the Vaughn Meader comedy records about “The First Family.”
I wanted to be president.
Then, November 22nd, 1963 happened. I was renting a room owned by a kindly old lady. I was glued to her TV, watching everything Kennedy. Finally, she couldn’t take it any more and asked me to leave. I spent the final days of my senior term in a hotel room.
I still wanted to be president, and won a ton of speaking and debate awards in college. My major was political science.
Then June 6, 1968 happened. When Robert Kennedy died, so died my ambitions to be a politician. The assassination hit me really hard, and my studies suffered. Their was this big hole inside of me.
If I wasn’t going to be a politician, then what?
If it hadn’t been for my minor studies in English, my grades would not have been strong enough to graduate. But I did.
Since 1968, I have often wondered why anyone would want to be president. I think George H. B. Bush lost heart for the thing, and that is why he didn’t win a second term.
One of the things that I wonder about, is how can a president give the command to kill, and still sleep at night.
It happens all the time. Justifiable bullets are sent flying toward some really bad people. If it were Dodge City, Marshall Dillon would have no qualms about drawing first and asking questions later.
But Matt Dillon is fiction. The President of the United States is real.
Now, President Obama is looking at Syria and wondering how many people he wants to kill – if any at all. Maybe he should just back off and let the Syrians have their own civil war and figure things out for themselves. Is the national interest of the United States at risk?
If I were president, I would have to have a VERY stiff drink or three before I could push THAT button.
So President Obama wrestles with his conscience. Maybe he will send missiles, maybe he won’t. But he has a couple of years left in his presidency, so if not now, when? Another place, another time, and he will be forced to give the command to someone else to pull a different trigger, and somewhere on the planet a human being will die.
I don’t like Obama very much. I hate many of his plans for governing us. But tonight, I will try to close my eyes with the thought, “God bless the President of the United States of America.”