Saturday, January 21, 2017

The One President I saw in person...

Sometime in 1986, I had the most amazing opportunity to cover a Christian Broadcaster's Press Conference in the East Room of the White House. Yes, dear friends, I was working for a radio station and budding Television Station that was part of the Christian Broadcasting Network in Greencastle, PA. It was an odd and interesting experience. It's a multi-layer story and which part will unfold is happening as I write this.
Of course, I was oddly placed in that job. I understood them much more than they could ever understand me. But it was a good "foot in the door" job right out of college, working at a radio station and doing marketing for a newly developing television station. And, suddenly, I was on my way with the station owners (husband and wife) to cover a press conference with the President of the United States of America - President Reagan.
Of course, I was oddly placed again. I was not a supporter of President Reagan's de-regulation and "trickle down" policies. I had not voted for him. I was skeptical of the Christian Broadcaster's "agenda" and how he wanted to connect. But wait - there's another layer to this story.
We arrived early. Screening for such things was very different then than it is today. We had our letter of invitation but the actual credentialing was at the door. Mr. and Mrs. Station Owner and I signed in. I was soon ushered through, having been honorably discharged with a Top Secret Security clearance in recent years. Shortly after I was seated, Mrs. Station Manager sat beside me. Mr. Station Manager never came in.
The Press Conference began and I was sitting less than 50 feet from President Ronald Reagan! I was in awe. The aura of the room, the dignity of his presence, resonated in me. At the end of the Press Conference I hadn't the foggiest idea of what the purpose was of the event but I was feeling great respect for the occasion of it. AND I was wondering why Mr. Station Owner was not in the room.
Back at the radio station I learned why. It turns out that Mr. Station Owner had been discharged from service as "Section 8" and was not permitted into the Press Conference. Suddenly a lot of crazy experiences I was having while "trying" to work there made sense. I moved on soon after that revelation.
Two morals to this story. Don't assume you're the crazy one.
Second - yes we can respect a president who holds policy positions we oppose IF they represent some semblance of dignity and decency. Once upon a time, I could and did.

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