“Is Georges Bush still the leader of the kingdom?” Zachary asked me last week.
“He is, baby, but only for another week,” I replied, thinking smugly about how Yertle the Turtle ended up, turtle head deep in the mud and feet flailing about in the air as he fell from his perch of egotism and stupidity.
Not long after, Zach asked another question. “Why do we pick a new President? Why does Georges Bush stop being President?”
“Well, they have to take turns. George Bush’s turn is over, and so we picked Barack Obama to do it next.”
“I’m glad that Mr. Pain is not going to be President,” he went on. “I’m glad they picked the smartest one.”
“I’m glad John McCain isn’t going to be President, too,” I told him. And I am. I am glad that we picked a man who shares my values, a man I can trust. I am relieved we chose a man who is smarter than I am, because I am pretty damned sure that I have no idea how to fix the problems we now face.
You know, things like a collapsing economy. Or, is it already collapsed? I haven’t the faintest of clues how to prop it up again, and I am only too happy to put my trust in someone else.
Plus, there is a bit of political upheaval going on. Nowadays, you can’t throw a dart at a map of the Middle East without hitting a war of some sort. I have no idea what can be done to resolve conflicts going back thousands of years, violence based in ethnic hatred and modern economic disparities, and I am mighty glad it is not my job to figure it out.
Oh, and there are all those melting ice caps, plus two continent-sized flotillas of plastic out in the middle of the ocean. I’m pretty content that I am not in charge of thinking about those things, too.
In a few hours, Barack Obama will become President, right about the time I drop the boys at preschool. Zach and I will stop and look at the clock, and we will note the exact moment that George W. gets smacked in the ass by the door. He has left behind a colossal disaster, and I can only imagine how Obama must feel stepping right into an Oval Office knee-deep in offal. People have awfully high hopes that he will be able to fix the economy, end the war(s), and stop global warming. Theses are rough times for becoming the most powerful man in the world, and he must have a serious case of First-Day Jitters.
I’ll leave the boys at preschool, relieved that they are someone else’s problem for a few hours, but before long I will have to come back and get them. We can only hand the tough jobs over to someone else for so long. The fact is that a good leader of the kingdom does not perch, Yertle-like, on our shoulders, looking out over his domain. A true leader guides us in our work of cleaning up the mud that we would all rather ignore around our feet.
So, welcome to President McDreamy. I’m so very glad it’s your turn.