Wrong Number at the White House

Call me a worrywart or crazy, but last week while President Donald Trump was dropping tweet bombs at North Korea and digs at China I was wondering if Easter Sunday was going to be the second coming of Jesus for Christians. Or possibly a nuclear blast for those in Secularland. As I watched tensions ratchet up on various news feeds, I wondered why everyone else seemed so relaxed. Denial? Nerves of steel? Too busy buying last minute chocolate bunnies and pastel eggs? Whatever, I was minorly freaked.
Deciding civic action would be the best antidote, I tried to call state representatives. Quickly, I remembered — never on Saturday. I did the next logical thing. I went to the internet brain trust, Google, to look up how citizens can communicate direct feedback to the president and administration at the White House (the real White House, not the “winter” one in Florida.) Checking out the options, I decided to send an email known as Method 3, noting the encouraging statement: “Democrat or Republican, Windows or Macintosh, email is bipartisan all the way!” Even though it didn’t mention independents, I assumed transpartisan was welcome. It wasn’t like I was asking for a respectful bathroom experience or anything.

Using the first address, comments@whitehouse.gov, I wrote a simple note: Dear President Trump and advisors, Please immediately stop the threat against North Korea, which is escalating tensions and creating a perfect storm for a nuclear crisis. This is risking the lives of many people in South Korea, creating the opportunity for a larger scale war, and escalating the possibilities of retaliation against other countries in the region, and America and its citizens. Thank you, Deb S., Vermont. The address didn’t work and the email got stuck in my outbox. Then I tried the other address listed, president@whitehouse.gov, and had the same problem. Apparently bipartisanship wasn’t really a factor. I had hit some kind of tech wall, perhaps not unlike the quasi-real wall about to be built on the southern border whose message is: “You can’t get in and we don’t want to hear about it.” Or maybe the new administration didn’t just take down information on the whitehouse.gov website about civil rights, the environment, etc. Maybe the information only flows one way these days, 140 characters at a time.

Always one to persist, I decided to try Method 4 and call. The first number gave me a similar voicemail message as the state representatives, call Monday to Friday, 9 to 4. I tried the second number provided, the White House switchboard. The woman who answered could have been a fresh hire and post-United Airlines’ employee (or maybe Kellyanne Conway got re-assigned?). Let’s just say neither customer or service were in her vocabulary. Her barely civil tone turned to icy impatience when I tried to explain the purpose of my contact, and she replied frostily: “You have the WRONG number.” I held back two retorts: “Well, it was listed on the contact website,” and “No, we have the WRONG president!”

Now it’s post-Easter weekend. At some point in the fray, while tweeting threats to North Korea and China, President Trump recounted the story of his authorization to bomb Syria in a Fox News interview. He had been having dinner with the Chinese president at the “winter White House” (Mar-a-Lago) and was gushing about the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake he had ever seen. However, in the interview, he said he had authorized the bombing of Iraq and had to be corrected by the interviewer: “You mean Syria.” Oh, yes, Syria. (So many bombs, so little time. Or in golfing parlance: Fore!) Thank goodness that cake was memorable.

As for me and my alter ego, Chicken Little, I was too busy to check any news feeds today. And honestly? I needed a break. Whether I was appropriately concerned or not, one thing is clear. There was no getting a peep into the White House. Maybe, I should have tried Florida after all. Or just called the switchboard back and ordered some of that Mar-a-Lago chocolate cake, given I’ve already paid for it. Ah, the sweet life of Making America Bake Again, while not mentioning the consequences of war acts with any sense of gravity and responsibility. How “da bomb” is that?

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