“Yes, Dad,” she said, resignedly. “I have to do a biography.”
The father perked up, curious. “Who’s the subject?” he asked, secretly hoping as all fathers do that it might just be him.
“Barack Obama,” she replied.
“Who?” asked the father.
“Barack Obama,” she repeated. “He was a president or something.”
The father laughed. “Oh, sure,” he said. “He was President of the United States, a very long time ago. Long before I was born,” he said, carefully. “Actually, before your grandfather was born. I remember learning a little bit about him. He was a great man.”
“Really,” asked the girl, thinking at once that her dad could readily be a shortcut to doing her own research. “What was he famous for?”
The father leaned against the doorway and frowned. “Well, let’s see. He ended racism.”
“What’s that?” she asked with a giggle.
“It was this crazy belief from a long time ago that certain people were better than others simply because of their race. A person who believed he was better than someone else was called a ‘racist.’ It wasn’t terribly widespread at all, but there were a couple of people—mostly on his side—who believed it. Anyway, he had this very clever plan to get rid of it. His side called everyone on the other side racists, for pretty much everything, no matter what. If you disagreed with him, you were a racist. If you wanted to keep more of your money, you were a racist. If you believed that the government should represent the will of the governed, you were a racist. Anyway, after a while, people caught on that the whole thing was a big joke, and that by calling everyone a racist, nobody was, and the whole country realized racism was over. I think.”
“Oh, I get it,” she said. “What else did he do?”
“Well, he ended these things called unions. Unions were these organizations of working people who would extort people for money. Like criminals, but technically what they did was legal. Anyway, if you didn’t pay them, they would stop working and hurt the economy or shut down the government until they did get the money. Sometimes they would beat people up or vandalize things. So people wound up having to pay them.”
“That sounds pretty bad,” she said. “How did he stop them?”
“Well, Obama was pretty clever. He eventually kept giving them more and more until the money dried up, everywhere. He encouraged them, too, to keep asking for more. And then when the workers did ask for more, there wasn’t any left. And the people got really angry and passed laws that recognized them as organized criminals. Eventually, they lost power and became a big joke.”
“That sounds like the same trick.”
“Yeah, I guess so, honey. And he used it again in the Middle East.”
“We learned about that place in geography. Isn’t it wonderful?”
The father laughed. “Well, yeah, today it is! But back then, it was a terrible place, and they really hated Americans. But Obama, like last time, kept telling them that he was their friend, and that everything would be all right. And the bad guys got so cocky thinking he was a doofus that they started annoying their people, and eventually all these revolts happened where a lot of people got hurt. Anyway, he loaned our military out all over the place, and we wound up having to fight all these terrible wars, for many years, that finally cleaned up all that mess. Libya, Syria, Iran, Jordan…I can’t even name them all. Anyway, eventually, he wound up being one of the most active war-time presidents. It sounds crazy, but we were fighting something like eight wars at a time. Anyway, eventually, the whole thing got settled when later presidents had to implement stable governments in all those places and they became nice again. Too bad millions of people died over all those battles.”
“He sounds like he was a tricky guy.”
“Yeah, well, his greatest trick was how he changed the country for the better. When he got elected, he promised all these changes. But everybody thought that he was going to fix things. Instead, what he did, was he deliberately broke and smashed stuff, until the point that even the laziest, dumbest Americans said enough was enough, and they forced Congress to repair just about everything. It was a terrible time: nearly everyone was out of work, and the dollar just about collapsed, and inflation was crazy. But it forced all these crazy laws to be repealed, and all these new, smart, and tough politicians to get elected. And boy, did they ever start cleaning things up when the American people grew their backbones again and started getting involved in politics.”
“He got a lot done, didn’t he, dad?” she asked, her homework assignment nearly complete.
“Well, the most impressive thing was that he did this all in four years! I forget the story, exactly, but I can’t imagine he lost the election. After all, since he had pretty much ripped apart everything, there probably was no reason to re-elect him. Do you have enough for your assignment tomorrow?”
“Oh, yeah!” she exclaimed. “I’m surprised we don’t get his birthday off.”
The dad frowned. “They do in Kenya, I think.”
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.