I had just finished a stack of harvest grain pancakes at the IHOP on Airport Thruway when I was asked this heavy question.
"If you were president, what's the first thing you would do in office?"
The young man who posed the scenario is David Smith, a rising senior at Columbus High School. He's very active in the Muscogee County Democratic Party and is helping to organize a June 24 presidential campaign rally for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a feisty Democrat from Vermont.
When David asked the question, I was speechless, which is an extraordinary occurrence in my life. Being that my last name is neither Bush nor Clinton, I had never even considered the possibility of becoming president, even when daydreaming as a child. Now that President Barack Obama is in office, I'm sure that will change for many children who now know that anything is possible.
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But, for me, I think it's a little too late for a presidential run.
Yet, I did find David's question fascinating. What would it be like to one day walk into the Oval Office as the most powerful person in the world? On one hand, I imagine it would be a real ego-booster as everyone responded to my every whim. On the other, I bet it would be humbling to discover just how powerless presidents really are. It's not like one can just wave a magic wand and fix the world's problems. There's Congress to contend with, remember?
Still, there's always something that can be done. So, if elected president, I would develop a three-part strategy that focuses on the basics. And, in my book, that's family, faith and finances. Here's why:
Family, we know, is the bedrock of society. So I would develop policies that promote healthy households, such as raising the minimum wage, providing affordable day care and guaranteeing maternity leave and vacation so parents can spend quality time with their children.
Religious faith gets a bad rap today, mainly due to the hypocrisy of the professed faithful. Yet, faith groups do help to lay a moral foundation for the society. So, as president I would work to strike the right balance so both individual rights and freedom of religion are protected as stated in the Constitution.
And let's face it, there's little people can accomplish without finances. So, as president, I would focus on economic policies that empower residents of low-income neighborhoods through better schools, job training and employment.
I'm sure many will view this as a simplistic approach to many complex problems. And, of course, my plan does nothing to address homeland security, climate change, human trafficking, trade agreements, the national deficit, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or ISIS.
Thinking about all that just gives me a headache. So, trust me. I'm fine with not being president.
Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.