This was my wife Ann’s remark when we, huffing and puffing with excitement, finally got ourselves upon the iron gates of The White House, located along 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. last week.
The trip was supposed to be the highlight of our tour because The White House represents to us the culmination of our dreams to get to the center of the Big Apple and in the US, nothing is bigger, grander and most powerful than the official residence of the President of the United States.
Here is the White House whose main occupant determines the world political, economic and cultural affairs of the world. When the main occupant here sneezes, the world trembles. Well, that’s hyperbole, but what if he sneezes while having his fingers at the buttons of nuclear missiles aimed at China and Russia? Blam! That’s history for us – third world war, nuclear winter and there we go down the way of the dinosaurs!
Don’t take me wrong, I am no die-hard US colonial boy – proof of that is that I am back in the country after several visits to the US and never did consider living there! Canada perhaps where I enjoyed having my fellowship at the University of Toronto, but that’s another story.
Back to the White US, as a student of politics and history, I have always marveled at world powers and what makes them tick and the influence they exert over everyone during their reign. I have always been fascinated by world powers to include the Roman Empire in the past, the British Empire, the German Empire, the Spanish colonial expansion; and the Russian Empire.
Today, the US is it as the world’s Super-Power and Super-Cop! If the US people don’t watch out and the other world powers allow it, China may soon take this role. But for now, there is the White House to watch and one wrong policy decision from President Obama waking up from the wrong side of the bed can send Wall Street and my stocks here down in Makati tumbling down!
Apart from that, this White House also allowed the idols of my youth to grow and make their mark in history that forever changed the political, economic and cultural landscape of the world. In these halls walked, wrote and spoke past Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy; and many other intellectuals and great leaders shaped my childhood.
There is no day that passes by without the White House being shown on television or its pictures printed in newspaper as US-related stories are presented. And who can escape the various movies about The White House being attacked and blown by aliens.
You must be living in the caves if you haven’t watched Independence Day, Mars Attack, Nixon, Air Force One, All the President’s Men, Clear and President Danger, Forrest Gump, Lincoln, Superman II, The Sum of All Fears, X-Men 1 and 2; and recently White House Down and the Butler.
So there you have it, The White House for me.
Back to my wife’s remark, before I can say anything, she answered her own question saying, “Maybe it’s how we view The White House that makes it big. We had the same surprising experience seeing how small the Mona Lisa painting was.”
That is true, after dreaming of the maiden with mysterious and bewitching smile, we were a bit shocked to see La Geoconda’s painting by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France years ago to be so small. Maybe the greatness of things makes them larger than life. This is true with The White House as is it true with the Mona Lisa.
Maybe my friend Zamboanga City’s councilor Cabanlit’s favorite saying was right: “Anticipation is sweeter than realization.”