For generations, U.S. presidents have gone to great lengths to avoid potential conflicts of interest. When I was elected, I followed suit by placing my small business in a blind trust to assure our citizens that I would always put the country’s interests ahead of my own. It’s a vital presidential tradition. That’s why I find it a bit curious that our new commander-in-chief has been allowed to ignore it.
For Christ’s sake, you people made me get rid of my peanut farm before you let me be president.
I grew up on that farm. When my father died, I moved back home and worked those fields with my own two hands to keep it afloat. It was a hard job, but it was so rewarding. It wasn’t just a business—it was the place I called home. Letting go of the family farm was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I did it because the American people asked me to. I did it for their sake, without enthusiasm, but also without hesitation.
Boy, times sure have changed, haven’t they? I couldn’t help but notice that the current occupant of the White House owns more than 500 companies, has business interests across the Middle East and Asia, and owes hundreds of millions of dollars to banks he is now responsible for regulating. It seems a touch unfair that a bigger fuss was made about my little peanut operation than all his office towers, hotels, and golf courses combined. All I had was a farm, you know? A small, precious farm.
Seriously, it was just a few fields and a warehouse, and you idiots still appointed a special prosecutor and spent six months investigating it.
Not a day goes by when I don’t think about what life would be like if I still had my peanut farm. I miss it so much. I miss feeling the sun on my face. I miss the earth in my hands. Sometimes, I’d go out to the fields before dawn. I’d watch the sun come up, watch it cast golden light on my plants, row by row. It was so calm; so quiet. Those were some of the best days of my life. It sure would’ve been nice to live out the rest of my years there, but I had to do what was right. I suppose only some of us have to.
God, I loved that peanut farm!
And where were my conflicts of interest, exactly? Seriously, do enlighten me, America, because I honestly have no idea. Did you worry I might be cutting deals in back rooms with the peanut butter lobby? Or that I might be too busy at harvest time to focus on the economy or the Middle East? Apparently, you did, and almost obsessively. Meanwhile, your new president holds a lease from the federal government to operate a $200 million hotel six blocks from the White House. I mean, come on!
Maybe I’m just a sucker. Apparently, all I needed to do was hand off control of the farm to my family. If I’d staged an elaborate song and dance about distancing myself—whatever that means—from all the day-to-day planting, picking, and salting, maybe I could have kept my peanut farm with the full blessing of you, the American people.
Besides, that peanut farm would probably be worth $200 million today, easy.
Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you've got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge. - Hester Browne
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The big difference: "Today's winemakers still worry about quality."
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