My Dinner With Barack

Say what you will about Barack Obama, the brother keeps in touch.

I gave his campaign $50 shortly after it achieved inevitability in the spring of 2008, not long after I’d been laid off from my last secure, well, my last well-paying job—and about a year before the money ran out.

He’s kept me posted ever since.

Last month I think he sent me, like, four emails inviting me to come have dinner with just him and three other Americans just like me.

And right at the end there, he sent me one raising the bar, saying Joe Biden wanted in on the meal, too!

Now, I was in the stadium in Denver when Barack accepted the nomination of his party in the summer of 2008, and I called the election for him months before the first vote was cast in November.  

But I was always a little bit skeptical about the dude.

I always read those Shepard Fairey posters as saying something like, “you better HOPE I do what you think I’m gonna do.”

And Barack didn’t disappoint me, not from the start. 

Closing Gitmo, ending the wars, fixing the financial crisis, establishing universal health care, ensuring net neutrality, repealing the patriot act, ending the Bush tax credits — so many fronts on which he’d campaigned — just disappeared after he took office, like gorillas in the mist. I wasn’t surprised at all.

But you know, I wasn’t gonna bring any of that up at the dinner table.

It’s a tough job, being President of the United States, and even though he keeps his hair pretty damn close-cropped, you can tell Barry has aged a good bit just a little more than half-way through his first term. 

Plus, every day, he’s got all kinds of folks all up in his grill about “do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”  You know what I’m sayin’?

No, I was just gonna talk straight-talk to Barack.  

Big picture, 100,000 feet kinda-perspective-kinda talk.

And I even gave his campaign another $10, which is a contribution about commensurate with the place I occupy in the pecking order since the last time I gave his campaign any money.

Alas, it appears I’m not among the favoured four to dine at this particular meal, since I haven’t gotten an email from Brother B and it’s already a week since the entry deadline passed and, well, again — I’m not surprised.

But here’s what I was gonna suggest to the big man — and I don’t guess it might get back to him even if I’m putting it on the Internet — but the great thing is that what I would have suggested to Tha B-Dawg as the cure for all illz is the very same thing that any and every peep out there in the world-at-large can do to make sense of this whole shebang. 

You don’t have to be the President of the United States to make everything all right.

But you do have to take ten days off from whatever it is you do in this life.

It seems like a lot at first blush, but in the long run it’s only ten days — it’s not a lot.  

Long enough for a bad rash to go away. Long enough for you to forget about every little slight you’re plotting revenge for even as you’re reading these words.

But here’s where it gets hard for the POTUS (though not for you), because you really do have to take ten days and remove yourself from everything else that is going on in your world and commit to spending those ten days in complete silence, with no input from or communication to the world beyond yourself.

Still, if you’re the President of the United States you COULD do it if you felt it was important enough.

It is only ten days.

So, anyway, it involves going to a place nearby, where the principles of Vipassana meditation are taught, and it doesn’t cost anything more than you’re willing to donate after-the-fact, and pretty much at the conclusion of the whole deal you will be absolutely clear on what you need to do (no matter what line of work you’re in) and what you can let slide.

After which, you will also have absolute clarity about the course of action you come to during those ten days, such that you have no fear of what the future may bring.  


It happened to me.

As it has happened to millions of others who have learned about Vipassana meditation, though a necessarily unknown number of them may not vote and may not have ever voted.

But still.

The point is, if you do a ten day Vipassana meditation retreat, no matter what line of work you’re in, no matter how important you are or how down in the hole you might be, you will come out of the experience knowing exactly what you need to do to make the world work the way you believe it’s supposed to work.

If you don’t believe me, take ten days and try it for yourself. 

I dare you.

#Barack Obama#fundraising#meditation#Vipassana

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