This Short & Silly is a re-post from my old website. Several of you asked me to re-post this story.
In an attempt to counter Clinton's momentum, the Bush campaign came up with the idea of having a luncheon with high school students from across the country. Bush wanted to show people he could connect with young people, and he hoped to "get us early" before we could even vote. It was an honor to be selected as one of these ambassadors of my generation to voice my opinion to the most powerful man in the world. Those of you who have been following me for a while already know this is not going to end well. For my voice is strong and loud.
I arrived in Washington, D.C. armed with stacks of possible discussion topics for the following day. We were provided press releases on various issues and policies and even provided briefs on topics not permitted for discussion. The documentation was vague, and I suspect they wanted us overwhelmed and unprepared. Nope, wasn't happening. Questions whizzed back and forth across the table as the president asked the teens about hot button topics. Then he got to me.
"Did you have a chance to look over my tax cuts for working families? What kind of feedback can you give me?" President Bush asked. (Please understand, we were live on CSPAN at the time-- he wanted the world to see us there).
I took a deep breath and replied, "I read the proposals, but they were not specific. I did not see any figures, just rhetoric. What kind of tax breaks? How much are we talking about?"
The president held his head high and stuck out his chest as his tapped the table, "A family of four will save seventy-two dollars. What do you think about that?"
My knee bounced as my mouth turned to cotton. So it's no surprise I nearly choked on my water. "Seventy-two dollars? A what? A quarter, a year, a month?"
Again, this man who had lived his life disconnected from the working class, explained, "Seventy-two dollars a year." A smug look spread across his face.
"With all due respect, Mr. President, my mother has five kids and a dead husband. Seventy-two dollars wouldn't pay her cable bill for one month." He grumbled about me living in some high cost area-- yeah.. I do. New Jersey is expensive, and seventy-two dollars a year was not only nothing to brag about---- it was outrageous. Before I knew it, the television camera was no longer on me, and I was dragged across the floor by my arms.
If you have been following me for a while, you know my mother is funny, patriotic, an Airforce veteran, and most importantly-- Directionally Challenged. She watched me on CSPAN with her co-workers on a television in the workplace cafeteria. Happy and proud... until I got pulled away by two large men in black, complete with radio earpieces. They summoned my mother to our capitol to retrieve me from the city, as I was deemed a 'National Security Risk" and banned from the city of Washington for one year.
Now just imagine, I wrote a post about how my mother could not find the library in my town---where she lived for 40 years. To this day, I still don't know how she found me a couple states away. It must have been her anger and humiliation that led her in the proper direction. Once I got into the car, she had no problem conveying her feelings. My mother never, ever hit us... but she was smacking me the whole ride home. "You embarrassed the president of the United States.. and me." They weren't "real" smacks. You know, the kind a parent gives you out of frustration, but they don't want to hurt you. I think the whole thing was so traumatic for her that she repressed it and draws a blank.
My response to her was, "It's our responsibility to question our leaders. It's our duty."
She snapped back, "The Constitution doesn't apply to you yet. You're not an adult.. and at this rate, you won't make it to that milestone."
Having Secret Service after me in no way hindered my interest in politics, nor my desire to work on campaigns. At 16 years old, I interviewed the Governor of NJ, Jim Florio and several other politicians for the high school paper---and they took me seriously. I manned the phones to bring in voters, and even worked the polls. After almost two decades of volunteering at political events and attending the rallies and speeches of national candidates of all parties, again I was removed by U.S. Secret Service. Because I am an equal opportunity offender, this time it was Democratic Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton. I'll save that story for the link below.