“You should get a Scottie dog. Barney is hilarious,” said my friend, who worked in the White House during the George W. Bush administration. She knew I was trying to decide what breed of dog would best fit into my 23 year-old, single, corporate America, overtime-working lifestyle. In all honesty, the answer was really no dog, but that’s another story for another day.
Long story short- I’ll spare the details of the hunt for Henry- I got my Scottie. And so I learned to love the site www.whitehouse.gov/barney. Everyday, there was a new picture of Barney Bush doing amazing things that only Scotties can do. I respect the fact that only Scottie owners are smiling right now. That’s ok. (insert winking emoji)
During the W. administration, I grew to also respect the loving and non-scandalous relationship between George and Laura. I loved their instant attraction, how they knew when they knew, got married after knowing each other only a few weeks, and how their marriage seemed to be rock solid.
I also remember hearing stories of people who’d interacted, even for only a matter of minutes with Bill Clinton, speak of his charisma. I hoped to one day have a commanding presence when I entered a room along with impeccable public-speaking skills. Public speaking terrified me then, and it still does to this day.
I remember the controversy around Monica Lewinski. I remember how so many praised and so many criticized the way Bush handled things post 9/11.
I was only alive for a couple of months of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and I was too young to remember much about the Reagan administration, so truly Bush, Sr. is the first president I remember paying attention to. I remember Clinton defeating him in his second race for the White House.
I remember when George W. Bush had finished serving his eight-year term and his twin daughters wrote a beautiful letter to President Obams’s young daughters with loving advice about living in the White House and being part of the first family. It touched my heart then, and upon re-reading it today, I cried again.
I have always watched with interest as President Clinton and the Bush family have become such close friends. He literally is hanging out with the president he defeated and his successor, both of a different political party. I remember from when I used to watch the news, hearing Barbara Bush say that Clinton was like another son to her… the man who won the election against her husband.
I admire the respect the Obamas have for each other. Talk about a non scandalous marriage between a first couple, theirs is one for the books! I love how they look at each other and most of all, how they dance together.
I liked Michelle’s “Get Moving” initiative to encourage kids to be more active and eat healthier. Goodness gracious, that’s a cause our country desperately needs to continue.
During all of these events and even as I reflect on my admittedly limited scope of political happenings, I can say with confidence that the Bush marriage, the Clinton marriage, the scandals, the controversies, and the friendships had little to no impact on key areas of my life- my morals, my desire to treat others with kindness, my love of coffee, wine, chocolate and, most of all, dance. I don’t remember hating Bush the way people did or praying for a Clinton impeachment. I don’t remember ever letting anything extremely positive or negative going on in politics impact the way I interacted with others on a day-to-day basis.
Yes, I worry sometimes that I am apathetic. Yes, I am proud to be an America, albeit one who can’t vote in the presidential election. I am humbled by the men and women who’ve served our great country. I am saddened by tragedies that impact our nation. And I love the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, and the song Proud to Be An America makes me tear up every single time. So does America the Beautiful. On second thought, I need to stop thinking for a second I’m apathetic, because I definitely am not that… I feel things so deeply and am moved to tears rather frequently by acts of kindness and good in the world.
I call the inner dilemma I have to blur out the bad and focus on the good “the blessing and the curse of being a Libra.” I’ll write more about that soon.
Until then, I pray we will go out of our way to look for the good in people, treat each other with love and respect, and wish for the best for ourselves and those who don’t share our beliefs. Let’s be kind whenever possible, and, as the Dalai Lama says, “It is always possible.”
Since 2002, I can say with certainty, the single biggest thing to come out of the White House that has impacted me and my family every single day is my decision to get a Scottie. Our family quite simply wouldn’t be “us” without Henry. And in case you’re wondering, this is my last political post!
Ashley Cates, St John USVI Blogger