Ken Crow and Nathaniel Crow
The First Day;
Samuel M. Ashworth reached for the door handle just as the soft voice behind him said; “Take it all in and enjoy, it doesn’t happen but once.”
Ashworth turned toward Rita and smiled as he grasps the beautifully polished brass door handle. Memories raced through his mind of how this moment came to be. Rita Henson had recruited Ashworth back in Michigan upon his graduation from the University of Michigan Law School. Rita headed up a non-profit group who represented minorities in court when they could not afford legal representation.
Ashworth was a youngish (mid-twenty something), olive-skinned fellow with wavy black hair, dark eyebrows, a mustache with a closely cropped beard, and a smile that movie producers would love to have on screen. Sam instinctively knew how to capture the public’s imagination with his appearance and that award-winning smile. If Errol Flynn were alive today, he would no doubt be worried that Sam Ashworth was going to take over his role as the most handsome man in Hollywood.
Rita had managed to convince him to work at least part-time for her non-profit to both help minorities, but it also would help pay off his student loans.
Rita watched in awe as Sam plunged into his cases. Some went near utterly silent as the young attorney managed to negotiate plea-bargains that allowed his clients to walk free by doing community service or accepting probation. Others were highly prominent because of the media and violence of the cases themselves. These were mostly high-profile gang member trials or drive-by shootings where innocent children were gunned down. Sam handled the reporters as if he had been dealing with the press for decades. He was gracious, but firm and knew instinctively how to give a non-answer while pivoting to another subject that he would rather discuss.
The soft-spoken Henson was not just an ordinary director of a non-profit. The mid-fifties, graying haired, prim and proper Rita was also the Political Director for the Michigan Democrat Party. The non-profit it turns out was nothing more than a pet project for the high-ranking political operative.
Sam began reminiscing how Rita had all but started grooming him from his first day on the job for political office. At the tender age of twenty-five, she had him running for a State Representative seat in a district where she knew he would have virtually no challengers.
Rita put together his campaign team, handled most of the fundraising leaving Sam with only a couple of duties. He was to give passionate speeches, kiss babies, and grip and grin with everyone he met. After serving one term as a House Member of the Michigan Legislature, it was off to the State Senate where Rita orchestrated two landslides.
In the Michigan State Senate, Rita drafted legislation that would catapult Sam Ashworth to a household name in the Wolverine State. His first claim to fame, came in the form of getting the State’s minimum wage elevated to $15 an hour. This act made him instantly popular with the lower income voters in his district. Because the minimum wage had risen, this, of course, drove the salaries of the most significant unions on an upward trajectory. Now he had won the hearts and minds of the SEIU, AFL-CIO, UAW, Teamsters, and many more major unions.
Sam’s next conquest came when he managed to get passed a law forbidding automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the state. Sam had managed to argue on the floor of the Senate (after a series of gruesome shootings in Detroit involving an innocent 5-year-old boy sitting on his porch and a 12-year-old girl walking home from school) that this was the only way to stop the carnage. Between the public’s furor and his flamboyant passion, the bill passed with only a couple of ney votes. Public pressure had forced the Governor to sign the bill that flew in the face of the Second Amendment.
The next stop for team-Sam (with Rita guiding his career) was the United States House of Representatives. Having been raised and spent most of his life in Dearborn, Rita thought he would be a natural on the campaign trail for the 12th Congressional District of Michigan.
Michigan for most of its history has been traditionally a blue state as politicos refer to it. With Dearborn being Sam’s hometown and the United Auto Workers controlling the largest employer in the city (that being Ford Motor Company), Sam was virtually unbeatable. Now it was off to Capitol Hill for the thirty-eight-year-old legislator.
Sam began mentally replaying his first day on Capitol Hill. He and some 30 more Freshman Congressional folks got a tour of the Capital where he stood and stared in awe of the Chambers where he would be put to the test as one of his state’s representatives.
As he stood in front of the Speaker of the House, he placed his left hand on both a Koran and a Holy Bible to proudly recite the Oath of Office. Now he was officially a United States Congressman!
Rita noticed this act of swearing his allegiance to the Constitution, and the United States on a Koran but dismissed it as his trying to show patriotism to most religious factions. She quickly dismissed the act as the Oath was now complete, and they were being ushered off to look at Sam’s new office and meet his staff.
The next two-years for Sam were mostly uneventful. There were no significant global events to be concerned about, there was a budget that had been balanced for the most part, and the United States seemed to be at peace with the status-quo.
The most significant bill that Sam had to vote on was whether to increase funding for military support for Israel. Sam’s vote for this legislation went into the losing column. Sam voted against it, claiming that Israel did not need our help and was quite capable of defending themselves.
As Sam continued to stare into his new office in amazement, his eyes quickly landed on probably the most famous desk on planet earth. He marveled at the detail with which the desk had been hand-carved. Sam had flashbacks to his childhood when he remembered seeing photographs of little John Kennedy playing under the desk named Resolute.
As Ashworth walked into the office, he inhaled the fragrance of the fresh wood-polish, the overall cleanliness smells from the freshly shampooed rugs and fresh flowers displayed around the Oval Office. It was then that he felt a sense of dishonor for what he was about to do. It was sitting at the most famous desk in the world that Sam had pangs of guilt rising inside of his chest where he began second-guessing himself. These feelings quickly dissipated when he remembered his mission and why he was on it.
Ashworth opened the center drawer to find another tradition. The envelope was addressed ‘President Sam Ashworth’ and was on official White House stationery. Sam delicately opened the envelope to find a folded piece of paper which had been handwritten and addressed to him.
Sam; Your trials will be great, and your achievements will seem few. It is nothing that none of your predecessors haven’t faced. Stay focused on God and remember you belong to the people of this great land. Good luck and May God be with you. Don
The short note from the previous President to the new President was a tradition dating back probably to the first President. Nobody truly knows because it is a secret society of only those who step into the office for the first time. No President has even made the note they receive public. It is a tightly held tradition for only a select group.
Sam took the envelope, placed it in his suit coat inside pocket, stood and marveled one last time before ushering Rita into the office.
As the reporters began gathering outside for the coveted first photos of the new President in his new environment, the young Commander and Chief asked Rita (his new Chief of Staff) what needed to be completed on his first day. As most Presidents have something, they do to grab some good press and get a few positive headlines.
Unbeknownst to Ashworth, his new COS (Chief of Staff) had already planned the rest of the day for him before he hit the town to make appearances at the inauguration gala’s being held around the city that evening. Rita then brought the gaggle of reporters into the Oval Office, had Sam sit at the Resolute desk, straightened his tie, and the flashes and clicks of the cameras began. Dozens of photographers from the Washington Post, Time magazine, New York Times, CNN, the AP Wire Service, BBC and the long list goes on captured the new POTUS in hundreds of photographs.
While the flashes of bright light were transpiring, Rita handed the new President a beautiful blue folder containing his first Executive Order as President of the United States.
Sam proudly reached into the top drawer, found the box of official Presidential fountain pens and unscrewed the lid and prepared to sign the EO. One of the reporters asked him to please elaborate on this order and what its purpose was.
Sam responded with; As president of these United States of America, I feel I must protect our environment at all cost. For too long, we have been witness to oil companies ravaging our land with the construction of new refineries, drilling, and fracking their way across America and it is a time we put a stop to it. This Executive Order #13940 will do just that. This EO bans all drilling in all of our 50-states as well as shuts down all refineries until the EPA can go in and inspect each refinery to ensure they meet environmental requirements. But the truth of the matter is, without any oil going to the refineries, we won’t need them.