THE PRESIDENT’S POLICIES
It had been three weeks since the President had left the Advisor to deal with a crisis. The Advisor was still pondering how to see the world from President Obama’s viewpoint. If he could manage to see the world through the same lens maybe he could be of more help to the President. Three weeks ago the President had sounded enthusiastic about answering some of the same questions The Advisor of 1932 asked President Roosevelt when he, too, was struggling to find common ground. The Roosevelt Journal of 1932 was open on the Advisor’s desk when the phone rang. He picked it up and heard the codeword that meant the President was on his way down. The Advisor rushed to put on a fresh pot of Sumatra Roast and to get out a pack of the President’s favorite cigarettes. He just finished arranging the small conference table when the door swung open and the President stepped in. He crossed to his seat at the table and murmured to the Advisor, “Everywhere I go there is a table or a seating arrangement with a place preordained for me to sit. At least here I can sit anywhere. Right?”
“Yes, Mr. President, you can sit anywhere. In our lore, this is part of the Oval Office.”
“Except that I can’t bring any guests.”
“Of course you can. I just won’t be here.”
“The last time I was here, you asked if you could ask me some of the same questions one of your predecessors asked President Roosevelt. If it was okay with FDR it is okay with me. I believe you asked me what I meant by my phrase, ‘transform America.’ Is that right?”
The Advisor nodded and said, “Yes and take your time. I believe the answer to that question is the foundation of your polices.”
“Yes. It is. But not many of my own staff understand. By transforming America I mean getting this great nation on the right path to benefit all Americans and all the people in the world. I believe we have been following a wrong path for years, displaying our power and our wealth as a license for intervening in the sovereign affairs of other nations. Who do we think we are, gathering far more than our share of wealth and using most of the world’s energy to increase our wealth and power? The right path for this nation is to take the lead in distributing our national wealth to all the nations of the world and to unilaterally reduce our military strength so all the world can see we no longer have the power to dominate. Our future is to be a responsible member of the United Nations and give up deciding what we should do in our own interests. You see, leading from behind is the promise of the future. It is this soft power we have lacked. America has a deep history of the establishment and failure of utopian societies.
“By really sharing our wealth and equalizing opportunities so no one can control more than their fair share of wealth, we will bring into being the real promise of freedom, not for the individual, but for all the people. One person, one vote, one party is the real promise of democracy. In my time as President, I will do all I can to distribute wealth, first nationally and then internationally. I will, at the same time, redirect our military by reducing its man power and weaponry.
“The only real law is international law applied to both people and nations. Why should an act be criminal in some country and not in others? What is fair about that? It is an honor to have the United Nations Headquarters in America. I will channel more and more of our wealth and security policies through the UN. The early utopians did not think big enough and did not have the necessary ruthlessness to protect, defend, and spread their philosophy. I do.”
“Mr. President, thank you for explaining your policy of transformation. I’m now in a better position to give you advice whenever you come down to see me. Like yourself, most Presidents don’t need or want strategic policy advice. In the journals, most have sought tactical advice to further a program in support of their broader policy goals. I would like to talk with you the next time you can come about the obstacles you see in your way to achieving ‘transformation.'”
The President was already standing, crushing his cigarette and remarked, “The lawyer in me enjoys our sessions. No one makes me think the way you do. Now I have to go.”
The Advisor watched the door slowly close and lock. He said aloud, “It’s all in the open now. I must be careful to understand his core beliefs before giving any advice. Like some of my trail-breaking Advisors of times past, I’m truly frightened.”
By the author of the Jack Brandon novels. The author has 27 years of Government service,
including two years serving President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s as an advisor. Considering today’s volatile political situation, you are encouraged to share this on Facebook and to click the “like” button below. Comments and dialogue are welcome and helpful. Find and connect with the author on Goodreads.