Friday, July 16, 2004

I shook hands with the President of the United States today. 
After we heard a couple of other speakers this morning, they asked us to remain at our chairs since there was no further traffic being allowed into and out of the room.
As we stood around in front of our chairs chatting, they put some patriotic music on the sound system.  I noticed (at the stage entrance I was closest to) as a well-dressed young guy popped into the room, slipped the presidential seal out of a blue, velvet sack, and hung it on the podium.  
Right on time (this administration is notoriously punctual), a voice said something like “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Attorney General John Ashcroft and Governor Jeb Bush.”  All turned and applauded as the two walked out onto the stage, and a few seconds later, without any announcement that I can recall, the president strolled in and the room erupted.
At the end of the speech, in which he made some strong remarks about Fidel Castro’s Cuba which have been the focus of the subsequent media coverage I’ve seen, he began working the “rope line” around the front of the stage.
My coworker and I were seated about 25 feet from the podium, so we were in good position for a quick meeting when the president got to our side of the stage.
There was an episode of “King of the Hill” a few years ago where Hank Hill meets George W. Bush and then decides he can’t support him because Bush gave him a limp handshake.  This made me a bit apprehensive going in, but I’m pleased to say that the president extended a good, firm handshake—it was a full-hand handshake, the way a handshake should be, rather than one of those wimpy politician girl-extending-her-hand-to-be-kissed handshakes.
The whole exchange probably lasted 1.5 to 2 seconds.  But it was still one of the more impressive days I’ve had in a while.  48 hours ago I didn’t know about any of it.  I guess you just never know in life.
(Regarding the issue of human trafficking, I'm still learning.  But swamphopper over at The Rough Woodsman did an excellent post earlier this year on the subject which contains some important links and info.)

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