“Dammit, Eleanor, the American dream is dead!” Rafael spit at his wife and slammed his empty beer bottle on the table.
“Please, Rafael, not in front of the boy!” Eleanor grappled onto a bawling Teddy, whose American flag jammies were now damp with tears.
“Teddy needs to know the truth!” Rafael pulled Eleanor away and looked Ted dead in the eyes. “Son, I’m sorry that I have kept this from you for so long. Most parents tell their kids by the time they’re 17 or 18, but I couldn’t bear to see that twinkle in your eye burn out. That twinkle when you memorized all of the Bill of Rights or when you made that macaroni art of the Statue of Liberty or when you were first elected to the senate.”
“Papa… papa, what do you mean?” poor, fragile little Teddy asked as he dug his fingernails into his Captain America plush toy. “You… you always said that as long as I believe and work hard that America will make anything possible.”
“Teddy, you’ve seen what America has become,” Rafael tried to hold back the tears and turned away. Ted couldn’t see him cry. “We have a damned socialist Muslim from Africa in the White House! Your mother and I didn’t escape Fidel Castro just to live under the iron fist of another dictator!”
“There is still hope, Rafael,” Eleanor put her hand on her husband’s back. “The people will see the light and elect a hard working, blue blooded capitalist to office.”
“Yeah, papa!” Teddy’s cherubic face lit up. “Maybe we can have another Ronald Reagan!”
“There will never be another Ronald Reagan, don’t you get it?! Dagnabit!” Rafael pushed away his wife and child and ran toward the front door. “I… I’m sorry. I just need a bit of a relaxer after this one.”
Rafael walked into the frigid March air with his wife in tow. The door slammed behind them as Teddy trudged up the stairs to his room. He opened his door, which had a 6 foot tall poster of Richard Nixon taped to it, and collapsed next to his bed in tears. He wailed into the dead night air, waiting for the warm touch of his mother’s hand, patting him on the back. “It’s okay,” she would say. “You just have to believe in America and all of your dreams will come true.”
“I… I believe in America,” Ted wiped his tears and clasped his hands together. “Are you there Ron? It’s me, Teddy. I’ve been such a good boy. I pay my taxes, I pray every night, I say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. But why do mamma and papa have to fight all the time? Why does papa say that America is doomed? I know that you’re listening to me, if you could only give me a sign.”
“I hear you loud and clear, son,” a voice sung from Ted’s heart, through purple mountain majesties and above the fruited plains of his soul.
“Gipper?! Is that you?!”
“As sure as the flag is a-wavin,” Ronald said, appearing in front of Ted in an alabaster gleam of light. “What can I do for you, my boy?”
“Call me Ron, if you don’t mind.”
“Oh, sure thing, Ron! I… I need to ask you something important,” Ted said, hopping to his feet. “America has, if you’ll excuse my language, gone to poo since you’ve been gone.”
“I’m well aware of this, sadly,” Ron said, fiddling with his halo nervously. “Socialism is running rampant, the ruskies are on the rise, and traditional marriage has essentially been outlawed. It sure is a sad day for America.”
Ted hung his head. “So even you’re saying there is no hope.”
“Now buck up, sonny. I didn’t say that,” Ron beamed, his smile shedding grace on Ted. “I’d say that you don’t have to look very very far to find a hope.”
“What… what do you mean, Ron?”
“I mean you, ya knucklehead!” Ron said in a playful manner that saw beyond the years between them. “You’re just what we need to make America great again.”
“But, how can a lowly junior Senator like me make any difference?”
“Now Ted, I may have a few choice words I’d like to say about that… ninny that invaded my former home, but do you remember what he was before?”
“I mean, yeah, Obama was a junior senator too, but there is no way that I can be president! Who would even vote for me?”
A smile beamed across Ron’s face, from cheek to shining cheek. “Patriots, my boy.”
With that, Ronald was gone in a puff of smoke, floating through the spacious skies back up to the pearly gates. He had to get back to the poker game he was having with his fellow patriots. He was about to drain Eisenhower and Ford out of all of their Heaven Bucks and he sure as heck wasn’t going to miss the look on their faces when he won. A fire was lit in Ted’s heart. He ran down the stairs faster than when his parents got him an AR-15 for Christmas last year. He grabbed his coat, fled out the door, and past his parents, who were sharing a cigarette on the porch.
“Hold up, Teddy. Where are you going?” his dad yelled as Teddy disappeared down the driveway.
“To the FEC!” Ted exclaimed without looking back. He was now sprinting down the middle of the street, wide eyed and barefoot, footie pajamas notwithstanding. “I’m gonna be president, papa!”