Friday, October 24, 2008

Mrs. Henderson's Story (Political Content Advisory)

NOTE WELL: this is a treat story. If political content is going to offend you, hit "DELETE" RIGHT NOW!

More than ten years ago, I had a weekend gig circulating petitions to put liquor iniatives on local ballots. The irony is that I'm a teetotaler, but what the heck; it improved my cashflow situation a bit.

One day, I walked up to a house that had a car out front with a bumper sticker that read 'Proud Parent of a United States Marine.' I saw from the voter registration printout I had that it was the Henderson residence. When I spoke with the Lady of the house, I kidded her that if she ever checked into a hotel near a Marine base, she might try saying, 'Yes, we're the Henderson's- and please, no special treatment.' (Probably wouldn't work. After all, a Marine aviator named Henderson won a posthumous Medal of Honor at Midway. Henderson Field on Guadacanal was named for him.)

As I looked into the house, I saw a framed picture of a young Marine sergeant shaking hands with President George H. W. Bush (aka #41). Mrs. Henderson told me that her son had worked on the security detail at Camp David, and that he'd been there through parts of both the Bush (41) and Clinton administrations. I asked if they had one of him shaking hands with President Clinton. Uh...well, yes, but their son asked them not to display it. Mrs. Henderson then told me that while everybody in the Marine detachment thought #41 was OK, and they all just loved Barbara Bush, they did not like the Clintons at all- largely because they got the very strong impression that the Clintons did not like them. Indeed, Mrs. Henderson told me, a one point, the Marines finishing their tours at Camp David told their Officer-in-Charge they would just as soon not do the usual 'Grip n' Grin' with the Commander-in-Chief. So they all received a direct order from the brass- you will shake hands with the President, whether you want to or not.

On one level, that's a pretty sad story, on the other hand- there are quite a few countries in the world where, if the members of the military do not like the Head of State, he is in serious danger of very rapidly being out of a job, or being dead. Not here. 232 years of American history, we've never had a coup.

Bush doing the "grip-and-grin" with a brave, young Marine.

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