By Jeff Girod
That’s the message sixth graders from Waverly, Iowa, were given when they had their field trip to the White House canceled. For months, the class from St. Paul’s Lutheran School had been planning, saving and fundraising for their presidential tour, scheduled for March 16.
Then, just a few weeks ago, these little bundles of burgeoning bureaucracy were given the heartbreaking news: No tour for you—but great seats are still available for a Washington Wizards game!
The White House cancelled all public tours earlier this month indefinitely due to $85 billion in spending cuts. $85 billion? Just how much does a White House tour cost? And who’s giving these tours, a holographic version of Ronald Reagan? (Even dead, I’m sure Reagan’s hair still looks ah-mazing.)
Undeterred, the 16 rejected sixth graders did what every sixth grader would do in this situation: They posted on Facebook—specifically a video of the class holding signs and pleading, “The White House is our house, please let us visit.”
Seriously that’s what they posted? What are they teaching in our nation’s schools? It doesn’t even rhyme.
Even after the disappointing, non-rhyming Facebook video, the White House would not budge. The only way these kids were seeing the inside of the Oval Office is if they got elected, or rented one of 25 movies starring Morgan Freeman where he portrays a president.
Tickets and hotel already booked, the kids from Iowa recently traveled to Washington, D.C., touring the Capitol and Smithsonian. They also posed for photos outside of the gates of the White House, which is kind of like going all the way to Disneyworld and then hanging out in the parking lot.
“It’s kind of disappointing, but it’s still kind of fun to see the White House,” Mosai Newsom, one of the sixth-grade students, said.
Man, that Mosai Newsom is easy to please. Take him to Trader Joe’s and tell him it’s the New York Stock Exchange.
Still, those sixth graders were taking their disappointment in stride—and way better than I would have. I’d already be pinned to the ground by the Secret Service, crying and cavity searched. (It happens to me more often than you’d think.)
I get that the United States spends too much money, but somehow I don’t think the main drain on our finances is an old prune in a tour guide’s vest pointing out dusty portraits of Grover Cleveland.
If anything, a White House tour lets us momentarily forget all of our national problems and be awed at the sheer magnitude of government.
And that’s no small feat—being awed by government—because politics is about as fun and exciting as getting a bunion removed.
And at least when you have a bunion removed, you don’t have to do it again and again every four years, or worry that your bunion is going to raise taxes or invade Afghanistan.
Is Obama proving a point by booting 16 sixth graders out of his office? Maybe, if that point is Obama’s an uptight, kid-hating jerk.
Sure, these Iowan sixth graders probably aren’t the only school group that had to cancel their field trip to the White House. The difference is these kids are the only ones on TV. And everyone knows that being on TV makes you way more important and interesting.
It’s why I do everything that NBC weatherman Fritz Coleman tells me.
Those school kids deserve a tour of the White House mainly because it would make me feel better about myself. And isn’t that what America is all about? Feeling better about yourself without actually giving a crap or expending any energy to try?
Who knows, maybe seeing the White House in-person and taking a tour will inspire some sixth-grade student to do something truly great and meaningful with his or her life.
America can only hope. Because eventually someone is going to have to replace Morgan Freeman as our favorite fake president.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.