There has been, over the past couple of generations, a gradual tendency for the Presidency to acquire power and the trappings of power to an almost Imperial extent. Certainly Presidential transportation is one of the most spectacular examples: having two of your own superbly and specially-equipped 747s is not going to make you humble. Air Force One has become a prime symbol of presidential power and prestige.
Well, that kind of Presidential power and prestige is fundamentally un-American. It’s bad symbolism: bad for the Republic, bad for Presidential mental health. President are our servants, not our masters, and they should never be allowed to forget it. I am reminded of the agent who was visiting a British-owned cattle ranch in Wyoming back in 1890 and asked a cowboy “if his master was in”. The cowboy replied: “The bastard hasn’t even been born yet.”
POTUS needs his wings clipped. We need to make sure that the President knows who the boss is – us. I have a bracing alternative strategy in mind, one that also shows the proper spirit of austerity.
First, ditch the 747s. Ground transportation was good enough for George Washington and it’s plenty good enough for lesser Presidents. I think that we should replace the big birds with a garbage truck: – armored, naturally, for security – the modern kind of garbage truck that automatically picks up a garbage can and dumps it . The Secret Service would prepare the Prez for travel by gently inserting him into the official White House trash can – head first, so that he could be safely decanted into the softly yielding garbage in the back of the truck. The method would be the same for White House staff and the press, except that in those cases, we could put several staffers/reporters in the garbage can at a time. This may unduly favor the President, but hey, RHIP. Perhaps we could modify the truck so that it can accept garbage from the left and right simultaneously, speeding the loading process.
There would of course typically be garbage in the back since it would be silly to let the truck just sit idly inbetween Presidential expeditions – zoo excrement and medical waste don’t haul themselves, you know.
Some may object that such travel conditions might soil clothes and impart the pure odor of politics – well, if there are any complaints, we can always (upon arrival) turn the fire hose on the Prez and his minions. Perhaps we could add a characteristic colorful dye that would help people identify the Presidential party – this would allow voters to be absolutely sure that these people were really the President and his merry men, rather some traveling set of gypsies or mummers.
This approach isn’t just good politics – it’s ecologically sound. We save fossil fuels, of course – the truck’s diesel engine would run on biofuel produced from restaurant grease and slaughterhouse carrion. But there’s more – flattened fauna found along the freeway – cooked on top of the engine block ( by the White House chef, natch – those French sauces can be poured over anything) – should allow the party to live off the land.