The Day the President Dropped By | Sojourners

The Day the President Dropped By

Actually, it was more like "The Day the White People Came" when Bill Clinton and his entourage of young Caucasians descended on our inner-city neighborhood. The park across from our office was the site of an official Overly Long Presidential Speech during

Earth Week, and we were just a "stone’s throw" away from the First Person. ("No, officer, I swear that I would never actually throw a stone at the president. Can I get up now?")

We knew something unusual was going to happen when, days before, teams of workers toiled feverishly to clean, trim, paint, and generally tidy up the place. Not that we’re complaining. This park is already one of the most beautiful in Washington, D.C., thanks to neighbors who worked tirelessly to reclaim it from the usual sources of urban deterioration: neglect, crime, and fear. [Editor’s Reminder: This is a humor column. So get on with it.] But back to the proceedings.

Our workday began with climbing around and over various police barricades to reach the office. The stone-faced guys in suits were everywhere. By the way, why do Secret Service people always wear suits? If I were president I’d want them in jogging shorts and Reeboks. I mean, how fast can you run in a tie?

The Sojourners staff was busy not working anyway, so we gathered on the balcony overlooking the park. We decided to make a powerful witness by grabbing a banner to hang over the balcony, hoping that Clinton would see it and alter the course of his presidency. Banners can do that, you know.

Unfortunately it said "No War in the Persian Gulf." So we found a more general one (see photo below) that movingly proclaims: "Let Justice Roll Down Like No Parking on Mondays."

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Sojourners Magazine July 1994
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