Political scientists at the Presidential Politics Institute of Washington D.C., colloquially known as "The Beltway Consensus", were stunned after discovering pictures of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama reading to school children.
Skeptical of such a tall tale I was nonetheless sent out by Banter Editor "El Jefe" Ben Cohen to confirm the authenticity of the find.
“It’s truly bizarre,” said Dr. Henri Obliviously, Head of the PPI, as he looked over pictures of the former President and First Lady making monster faces during their reading of “Where the Wild Things Are”.
“Why was this information such a revelation?” I asked Dr. Obliviously.
“At the PPI we usually only focus on the current state of Presidential Politics. Nothing that came before it matters. All that matters is now, and how the President is doing, now. Much like a horse race if you follow the analogy.”
I nodded following along. “How did you come across your recent find?”
“Well one day we were screwing around online and just put in a crazy search term. That’s when we found the pictures,” Dr. Obliviously said gesturing to the PPI’s lone 2014 MacBook Pro laptop.
“And what were your findings?” I said rolling my eyes at the “I Want to Believe” sticker on the back of the laptop.
“From what we gathered instead of disrespecting the memory of dead American Servicemen, or ‘punching down’, as it were, on professional athletes exercising their First Amendment rights the Obamas spent time reading to schoolchildren.”
“So President of the United States, the same country that elected Donald Trump, didn’t spent time tweeting out personal attacks, or congratulate himself on things that never actually happened? He simply… read to school children? Seems far fetched,” I retorted skeptically. It seemed impossible given the current political climate in the United States that a President of the United States would spent time doing such things.
To support his findings Dr. Henri showed that on a simple Google search dozens of examples of the former President and First Lady either reading to children, or simply interacting in what could be considered “cheerful” or “adorable” were in abundance.
“How many people know about this?” I asked intrigued.
“Sadly, not many I’m afraid. It’s been lost to the mists of time,” Dr. Obliviously repiled mournfully.
To discover that a former American President could not only faithfully execute the duties of his office, but remain a decent human being as well seemed baffling especially given what Americans have grown accustomed to during the Trump Administration.
I sought out fabled Presidential Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to shed some light on this remarkable find.
“I actually met President Obama and the First Lady you know,” she said matter of factly, but graciously.
“So these photos are accurate? The United States had a President and First Lady who used to behave this way?” I asked somewhat incredulously, stunned that a President of the United States like this actually existed let alone someone had met him, or claimed to.
“Of course. Not all Presidents acted like this, but the Obamas were different. I think they genuinely cared about people, and that came across through empathic displays of genuine affection.” She sat down at her computer and through a simple Google search pulled up images of the Obamas showed compassion, and empathy. Through Ms. Kearns Goodwin’s largess I was able to post some of these.
“What’s even more shocking is even though she wasn’t known for it in the mainstream media Hillary Clinton displayed those same characteristics,” she told me.
I left my meeting with Ms. Kearns Goodwin in a state of shock. I trudged toward the The Banter offices lost in a haze of disbelief as the rain began to fall. How could a nation that elect a President who enjoyed reading to school children elect Donald Trump? I pulled my coat a little tighter, and flipped up my collar hoping the slight downpour would give cover to the lone salty discharge of fluid on my cheek. I felt hollow, saddened that I couldn't live in such a magical place. .. And because Ben probably wouldn't reimburse me for travel expenses or lunch.