Our little state is preparing for the invasion of the APEC conference. As we struggle to with the surging homeless population, the countless stray animals, the brutal cutbacks in education, and the merciless traffic, our president demands the tightest security and the highest quality of royal treatment we can’t afford. Security cameras are being put up, only to be taken down after the conference is over. Fully grown trees are being planted along the medians of certain highways, only to be removed after the conference is over. Chainlink fences are being put up around the police stations, only to be pulled down after the conference is over. And entire freeways will be shut down for certain periods of time because the dignitaries will be moving from one side of the island to another. No consideration is given to the fact that the residents of the westside do not have an alternate route to travel from to and from their homes.
I also heard that Michelle Obama will be “treating” the dignitaries to lunch on Sunday. She isn’t the one actually footing the bill, though; “her people” are – you and me. We are also paying for their travel expenses, not just to events of state, but pleasure excursions as well. We paid for the extra fuel when their dog, Bo, had to fly on a separate plane with his handler to join the family in Hawaii. We have to suck it up and cater to their comfort at the cost of our hard-earned salary, our tightening of the belt, and our anxiety about the future.
I know that our government is grossly top-heavy and that all of our politicians are wasting the money that hard-working citizens are required to send to D.C. But it seems to me that the buck stops with the President. If he were to set an example of actually valuing the lives of American citizens by doing with less or footing his own luxury bills, perhaps the others would follow suit. The expectations of our leaders right now are those of a medieval monarchy where the serfs had no say and all the drudgery of catering to royal comforts; they are not those of democratic public servants, elected by the people to elevate the country and not themselves.