“Clara, you are seven years old now, and this year you are going to see the first new president elected in your lifetime.”
Clara looked up from her plate of hot dogs and tater tots. “Huh?” she said, stuffing another handful of tots into her cheeks.
Her mother leaned forward and explained, “There is a rule that the president can only be president for four years. Then they have to be reelected, and can only be president for another four years. So, Mr.Obama has almost been president for 8 years now, and he has finished being a president. So, someone else is going to do it now.”
“Oooohhh,” Clara nodded her head as if she understood, but I could tell she was really just searching the table for more ketchup.
I handed her the bottle and continued the kitchen table lesson in US government. “So, there are a LOT of people that are trying to be our new president right now. Lots and lots of them. And they are all saying that they would be the best person for the job.”
She made a little puddle of red paint on her plate and began to move it around with a Hebrew National. “So, who is the new president going to be?”
“Well,” I smiled. “THAT is a VERY good question. One that everyone is trying to figure out. And it’s a real problem. You see, there are so many people saying they would be the best person to do the job. But, it is all sort of like a mystery, because some of these people are lying, and it’s our job to figure out who it is, based on evidence and clues.”
She smiled at the end of her hot dog and raised her eyebrows in understanding. “Oh! I get it!” She really likes mysteries. I could tell her brain was already processing some kind of solution to the problem of politics.
I was right. Because just a few seconds later she held up her hands and announced her conclusions. “Okay! I know what we should do.
We held our breath.
“We should somehow sample each of them.”
“Oh?” I liked where this was going.
“Yeah. We should take everyone that would like to be the president and let each of them have the job for one day to see how they do. Then if they are lying and they do really awful, we’ll know!” She twisted her wrists in the air triumphantly. “Problem solved…. what? Why are you guys laughing at me. It’s a good idea right?”
“Oh, yes. Yes, it’s a fantastic idea. I can’t possibly think of anything that could go wrong.”
But for the past day I have not been able to get this idea out of my head. It’s so crazy it might just work. Maybe we COULD somehow give candidates some sort of Presidential test. I’m thinking about a presidential written exam, or we could put them through spontaneous real life tests to see how they react. Bribery simulations. Nuclear war room practice. Maybe we could literally take samples from them. Drug tests, blood testing. Genetic evaluations. Mental stress tests. We could give them presidential physical fitness examinations. Let them do some pull ups and a couple of shuttle runs. Hey, it’s only fair, they made us do them in fourth grade, right? Maybe after a true test of wit, skill, wisdom, physical aptitude, artistic creativity, moral character and mental and spiritual endurance we wouldn’t even have to vote. Our one true leader would rise above the rest like a glowing angel sent from heaven. A warrior tried in the fires of American government. Maybe one day on the job is all they would need to pardon our nation from our selfish squalor. We would rise to follow our glorious leader to a new era of enlightenment and prosperity. Or more likely all of the dum dums we have running currently would give up because it’s too difficult and embarrassing and we would get a better deck of cards from the box to choose from.