Once upon a time, I was invited to the White House for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics. There was some talk that my industry was being scrutinized by the administration, but I paid it no mind. I live in a free country. There is nothing that the government can do to me if I've broken no laws. My wealth was earned honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor.
I checked my coat, was greeted by the Chief of Staff, and joined the President in a yellow dining room. We sat across from each other at a table draped in white linen. The Great Seal was embossed on the china. Uniformed staff served our dinner. The meal was served and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen.
Sorry about that, "said the President. "Andrew is very hungry."
I don't appreciate..." I began, but as I looked into the calm brown eyes across from me, I felt immediate guilt and pity. It was just a dinner roll. "Of Course, " I concluded and reached for my glass. Before I could, however, another waiter reached forward, took the glass away and swallowed the beverage in a single gulp.
"And his brother, Eric is very thirsty." said the President.
I did not say anything. The President is testing my compassion, I thought. I will play along. I do not want seem unkind. My plate was whisked away before I had tasted a bite.
"Eric's children are also quite hungry."
With a lurch, I crashed to the floor. My chair had been pulled out from under me. I stood, brushing myself off angrily, and watched as it was carried from the room.
"And their grandmother can't stand for long."
I excused myself, smiling outwardly, but inside feeling like a fool. Obviously, I had been invited to the White House to be sport for some game. I reached for my coat and found it had been taken. I turned back to the President.
"Their grandfather does not like the cold."
I wanted to shout, "That was my coat!" But again, I looked at the placid smiling face of my host and decided I was being a poor sport. I spread my helplessly and chuckled. Then I felt my hip pocket and realized my wallet was gone. I excused myself and walked to a phone on an elegant side table. I learned shortly that my credit cards had been maxed out, my bank accounts emptied, my retirement and equity portfolios had vanished, and my wife had been thrown out of our home. Apparently, the waiters and their families were moving in. The President had not moved or spoken as I learned all of this, but finally I lowered the phone into it's cradle and turned to face him.
"Andrew's whole family has made bad financial decisions. They have not planned for retirement and they need a house. They recently defaulted on a sub-prime mortgage. I told them they could have your home. They need it more that you do. My hands were shaking. I felt faint. I stumbled back to the table and knelt on the floor. The President cheerfully cut his meat and ate. I lowered my eyes and stared at the small grey circles on the tablecloth that were water drops.
"By the way," He added, "I have just signed an Executive Order nationalizing your factories. I am firing you as head of your business. I will be operating the firm now for the benefit of all mankind. There is a whole bunch of Andrew's and Eric's out there and they can't come to you for jobs groveling like beggars." I looked up. The President dropped his spoon onto his empty plate and stared at me. I thought of the years behind me, of the life I had lived. The life I had earned with a lifetime of work, risk and struggle. Why was I punished? How had I allowed it to be taken? What game had I played and lost? I looked across the table and noticed with some surprise that there was no game board between us.
What had I done wrong?
As if answering the unspoken thought, the President suddenly cocked his head, locked his empty eyes to mine, with a big smile as he folded his hands.
"You should have stopped me at the dinner roll," he said.
Our country has forgotten Who is in charge! GOD!