In these matters, one cannot forget a basic life principle: We teach people how to treat us. The President has taught his opposition that he will give away everything to gain comparatively little. Ultimately, there are many lessons in the debt ceiling debacle, lessons both for adults and children. Moreover, Barack Obama and his journey to this point are also ripe material for thinking through how we explain the "real world," with its ups and downs, to our youngest citizens.
As a ghetto nerd, I love a good fairy tale. They teach readers lessons about how to deal with life's disappointments, pain, hurt, loss, and sorrow. Fairy tales also teach us lessons about civility, hubris, and how to be successful while also being graceful. In sum, what are ostensibly stories that are "just for kids" can have meanings and wisdom that span the ages, helping us all to make sense of the world.
In trying to make sense of Barack Obama's presidency to this point, one year before the election, I have decided that a series of fairy tales would be the best way to creatively process the journey of a man who was heralded as a savior, but succumbed to outside forces and temptations, and to this point, has lost his way.
Each week or so there will be another installment from some of WARN's guest contributors. If you like how it is going by all means send in your own Barack Obama fairy tale, it can be a continuation of what we are starting here, or a stand alone piece.
Let us begin.
Barack Obama was a special child. He grew up surrounded by a loving family who told him that one day he would do great things. He was a lad of destiny. Coming of age in lands close and far, Barack Obama learned the ways of many peoples. Even if they picked on him at first because he was different, they all came to realize that Barack Obama was a good and earnest young man. They would always teach him their wisdom.
With his mother’s love and blessings Barack Obama returned to the land of his birthright. He was told that he would one day be King...but only if he worked really hard and made good choices. How this would happen he was not sure. Raised as a humble boy with little gold, all he could do was be his own person, and strive for better things in life.
Barack Obama had an advantage over others though. He always sought out people who could teach him things that he did not know before. Barack Obama was especially bright and won all of the ribbons and prizes in school. He adventured across the land every chance that he got. Barack Obama would win every battle he fought as a child and also as a young man because he used his natural gifts and tried harder than all of the others to succeed.
Barack Obama knew that he would always find victory if he applied himself and used his special talents.
He soon grew up to be a man. One day he met a fair and beautiful woman who would be his bride. She would always tell him the truth and make him strong where he was weak. They would have beautiful children and a wonderful family together.
Sadly, there was a cloud hanging across the land. Bush the Younger had locked many people away, gave the people’s treasure to his closest friends, and used fear of war with strangers to keep the people obedient and quiet. He was also fond of lies. The farms had stopped being prosperous and the people were going hungry. Many in the kingdom were afraid. They loved their king out of fright for what could happen if the evil hoards from other places came to invade their country. Others knew something was wrong. Few people had the courage to say so in public.
Tired of his Empire, Bush the Younger chose his successor. McCain the Fallen Knight was to be the next King. He was a good man at heart. But he liked power too much and would do anything to be in charge…even if it meant walking away from what he truly believed in his heart.
The people of the kingdom reached out to Barack Obama and asked him to be their Leader. He knew his destiny and said yes. The people were gaining courage and wanted Barack Obama to be their King more and more as the days went by. Bush the Younger was such a petty tyrant, wasting their gold and killing children in foolish wars, that the people wanted nothing more than to be free of his evil rule.
Barack Obama was a young man. To help govern the kingdom and to give him advice he chose an older member of the council. Biden the Outspoken was to be his advisor. Now, McCain the Fallen Knight was confused and worried. He needed help if he were to be the next King of the land.
Scared, he sat outside and looked up at a tree on the hilltop. In a flash of light a Sorceress appeared. Her name was Sarah Palin and she told McCain the Fallen Knight that she would help him beat Barack Obama. Although he did not know her, McCain the Fallen Knight listened to his friends who whispered in his ear that Palin the Sorceress would help him destroy all foes near and far.
Barack Obama and McCain the Fallen Knight fought many battles. The people of the kingdom were divided about which champion to support. One day Palin the Sorceress distracted McCain the Fallen Knight. She wanted to rule the kingdom and would do anything, even if it was wrong and dishonest, to defeat Barack Obama. McCain the Fallen Knight was upset and angry at Palin the Sorceress for such misdeeds. While they fought one another, Barack Obama came at them both in an act of great courage. Because she was a coward, Palin the Sorceress pushed McCain the Fallen Knight in front of Barack Obama just as his flaming sword came down true and just.
Barack Obama was a merciful and kind man. He looked into McCain the Fallen Knight’s eyes. He could see his sadness and weakness. Barack Obama told McCain the Fallen Knight that he would be spared. He should go home to his desert home and beg the people for forgiveness. Palin the Sorceress then cried magical tears that blinded Barack Obama. When he raised his sword to smite her, she had already disappeared. The air smelled of sulfur and smoke.
Barack Obama was made King of the Land by his people. They were excited by what they thought was change for the better.
Sarah Palin the Sorceress had other plans though. She went to the Tea Party Troll who lived under a bridge in a town far away from the capital of the kingdom. He was angry that he had been ignored for so long. To survive he ate mushrooms grown in the dark and would gobble up any travelers who came too close to his rickety bridge.
The Tea Party Troll would take their screams and put them in a magical box. He would open the box every day, over and over again, for his joy and pleasure. The voices told him that he was a good man and that everything which he did was right. He grew to love the box for all time.
The Tea Party Troll hated Barack Obama because of his bright and magical sword. He resented how smart and sophisticated the new King was. The Tea Party Troll was also enraged that Barack Obama was handsome and had traveled the world. The Tea Party Troll had never done such things and despised any person who looked different from him or knew how to speak the fancy words in those things called books. Palin the Sorceress told The Tea Party Troll that she would return soon to help him get his revenge.
She offered advice to The Tea Party Troll. Instead of eating and killing the people who crossed the bridge, he should use the magic box to trick them. If he did this, The Tea Party Troll would become popular. Everyone who listened to the box grew angry. They came to hate their new king Barack Obama even if they could not explain why.
To great applause and love Barack Obama was made King. He walked away from the joyous crowds to enter the great Ivory Tower and White House where all the Kings lived. At the door a man in gray appeared. He was the eldest of the old, and head of The Wise Men who had advised Kings for decades upon decades. Barack Obama bowed his head and was very polite. The Gray Man told the new King that he could not bring his flaming sword into the Ivory Tower and White House. It was tradition that he would have to forge a new sword from what was left to him by the King who came before him. That seemed unfair to Barack Obama. But being a respectful and confident man, he surrendered the flaming sword to the Gray Man who smiled upon taking it.
Barack Obama entered into the great place from which he would rule the kingdom. He walked up to a resplendent box that sat in the middle of the room. Here were the materials with which to forge a new sword. He opened the vessel. Bush the Younger had left him nothing but a few broken pieces of metal and a dull handle. What could Barack Obama do with such things?
The door immediately opened and The Wise Men entered. The Gray Man asked him what would be the first task. Now the King, Barack Obama closed the great box before anyone could see what was inside. The people were plagued by many illnesses. He told Biden the Elder and The Wise Men to send the land’s greatest knights to ride out on a quest to find a cure for all the sicknesses that ailed the people.
The Gray Man smiled. The Wise Men and Biden the Elder asked the new King why they would send their greatest warriors on such an errand when so many had died on like adventures before, and the people needed work and were hungry now.
Barack Obama told them that was his decision. It would stand. The people would be happy if he brought them such a gift. The Wise Men and Biden the Elder clapped in agreement as they were forever loyal and obedient.
Palin the Sorceress listened intently as her minions relayed the new King’s plan. She immediately looked into her pot of ugly poison and conjured up a vision of The Tea Party Troll. He was hungry. Palin the Sorceress told him of her evil plans and how together they would destroy Barack Obama the King. Happy and pleased beyond belief, The Tea Party Troll began to laugh so loud that villages for miles and miles around heard his bellows as the earth was made to shake...