I wonder if the President feels as threatened as I do when I read his mail. So many citizens feel so wronged and express it in similar ways. We’re not naive at the White House; we know the country isn’t perfect, but how would torturing the President solve anything? I walk to my car at night feeling very exposed. My puny mace could never protect me against the casually detailed threats I read in the letters. I should stop carrying it. All it does is remind me what lurks in the shadows of the parking garage. If I were president, I think I’d travel in an unmarked car with a driver I’d known all my life. A twenty-one car motorcade would terrify me. I’ve watched the Secret Service come through here on sweeps, and once dismantle my cubicle, and once pore over every block of my pure-hearted, innocent neighborhood when a presidential appearance was planned and then canceled as too risky. The trees seem menacing now. I can’t feel safe at home. I certainly can’t open the mail. My daughter asks me why we don’t have bars and alarms like all her friends and all I can tell her is how I feel better without them. Every day the letters come in, presorted by sender when possible. I do my analysis and file my report and pass it on up the chain. I wonder what they tell him. He’s been in office ninety months and they haven’t gotten him yet. I took my daughter to work one day and she watched me flinch and started to understand. He walked right past my desk that day, flanked by staff on every side, and winked in her direction. “Should we tell him?” she asked me. “He didn’t look worried at all.”

Copyright © August 12, 2008 David Hodges

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