A few weeks ago, I received a series of emails from the Obama campaign, asking for money and, in exchange, the promise of a chance to have dinner with the President of the United States of America.
I clicked, donated, and crossed my fingers.
As soon as the confirmation email arrived from the Obama people, I was informed I'd have another chance to have dinner with the President if I donated just 1/2 of my previous donation -- right now.
Half off? Who's not excited about half off?
Click. Click. Click.
Two chances to dine with Barack Obama! Two chances to tell him how I feel things are going. Two opportunities to voice my opinion about what really matters most in my world.
The whole thing felt like gambling, which I can't say I loved.
Still, I fell for it.
Two days later, I received a phonecall from the Obama campaign.
"Mrs. Wolf?" the young man asked.
"Speaking," I said, annoyed and curious. Who was calling?
"This is Mark from Obama for America (okay, I don't remember who he said he was calling from, but it had to do with Obama). "We're calling today --"
"Yes, I just gave online..."
"For the chance to have dinner with..."
"The President. Yup. And I gave twice," I said, relieved he wasn't a bill collector or District 65's automated messaging system.
"AWESOME!" he shouted (and I mean he shouted. I imagined him high-fiving his office-mates in a room reeking of pizza and flat soda). "Thank you, Mrs. Wolf! Thank you SO MUCH!"
"You're welcome," I said, feeling guilty that I'd upped my contributions for a chance to sit down and talk directly to the President of The United States about:
Kids sensing the tension and struggling with sleep, school, diet and socialization.
Businesses getting creative with their survival tactics (some of them noble; many more of them shady).
Americans perceived as "bad guys" (I know this after traveling abroad recently. A Brittish family suggested we were decent Americans "compared to the rest they've met. Ouch.).
Believe me. I'd have so much to say to President Obama.
I'd mention: that my mother's also a lefty; that I still drive with an Obama magnet on the back of my car; that I want to know how any human being can possibly handle the flood of letters/emails/judgements he surely receives on a daily basis; that I wonder how his daughters are doing; and that American cities like Evanston see new businesses opening every week despite these economic times.
I doubt I'll beat the odds and receive an invitation to have dinner with President Obama. Some people write every day; some even receive a response. Every day, American's have a chance to connect with the Prez.
If I do get that chance to dine with the President, believe me, I'll be ready. If nothing else, this fundraiser pushed me to think about what I want to see, and it boils down to one, simple thing: positivity.
I certainly don't believe one person can do it all.
I'm a mom. I should know.
Our country is a democracy, and our momentum requires input and effort from everyone.
And so I pose this question to everyone: "What would you want to say if you were asked to share your views with The President of The United States of America?"