Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mister President

The Democrats hounded me mercilessly last week to sign a birthday card for Barack Obama.

I got four or five emails a day, some of them vaguely menacing, as if I were going to lose out on something personally important to me if I didn't step forward and sign. "You haven't signed." "Kathleen, Don't forget to sign the card!" "Some people won’t sign President Obama’s birthday card…" "Kathleen, I don't want to make this awkward, but… It looks like you haven't signed the birthday card for President Obama yet." Now, I respect the office of president, and I still rather admire Barack Obama, though I get a bit nervous about his foreign policy from time to time. He should live and be well. But I don't feel that he and I are on greeting card terms. Does he send me a greeting card on my wedding anniversary? Not even my husband does that. So how is it that I owe him a birthday card?

All this is yet another feature of the hated twenty-first century. My touchstone for these events is simple. Would Eleanor Roosevelt have done this sort of thing, hounding me to sign birthday cards for Franklin? "Kathleen, if you don't sign this birthday card, Franklin will think you haven't got his back!" Hardly.  In the old days when we sent people to Washington they did the work we sent them to do (as far as we knew) and left us the hell alone.

I knew perfectly well what would happen after I signed the "card." Another screen would pop up and badger me to give the Democrats five dollars.

Whatever happens, the Democrats are after me for five more dollars. Boehner is triumphing over us! Give us five dollars. Boehner is weeping in rage! Give us five dollars. We're winning! We're losing! Send five dollars. I read recently that the Republicans' absurd lawsuit against Barack Obama is causing torrents of money to flow into the Democratic coffers, mostly donations from women. Women! What kind of suckers are we?

As I understand it, Karl Rove collected untold billions from those who could afford it (Let's face it, I can't) and poured them into the last election, whereupon his candidate lost just the same. So how is my five dollars going to improve the country? Here's what you people in Washington should do:  Fire the social media hounds and hire someone to fix the bridges. Pay attention to your work. Take time off from running for office and produce some useful legislation. Improve the country. We could use some help here.

© 2014 Kate Gallison


  1. So, my mother had a life size figure of Bill Clinton in her living room. She lived alone and if you looked through her window (but not too closely) it looked as if there was a man in the house which I thought was a nice safety feature. I subsequently wrote to the White House and so Christmas cards were delivered. When she was ill some years later, I called the Clinton Foundation in NYC and they sent a get well card. When she died I asked that donations be made to the Clinton Foundation in lieu of flowers. I got a sympathy card and talked to some lovely people in Little Rock. So when someone asks me to sign a birthday card for Bill, I do it. (His birthday is also in August). Barack's folks, for all their social media know-how have difficulty with snail mail. They continued to send my mother requests for contributions for years after her death and only recently discovered my existence. So I have missed the President's birthday. I wish him an impeachment free tenure.

  2. My father got a birthday letter that purported to have been signed by Bill Clinton, and it made his entire year. He was out of his head in a nursing home by the time the Monica Lewinsky scandal hit the fan, so he was spared what would have been a painful disillusion.
    Steph, have you read The Invisible Bridge? For those of us who were around in 1973 it could have been titled "Hell Revisited."

    How to say Happy Birthday to the President

    1. I would, but I haven't got the shape for it anymore and I can't find the dress.

  4. We're on the same wave length on this topic... I am bombarded by dozens of cozy notes on first-name basis from all over the country... don't ever make an inquiry about Wendy in Texas or any other political figure unless you are starving for emails!!! Just got a cozy one from "Dan" titled ... " Tom under attack.." they are clever, these folks... wish they'd apply their talents to getting more work done by the guys and dolls we vote into the halls of power in D.C... tjs