The President of What?

I sit here listening to the President talk about social security in his State of the Union address on the radio, NPR of course, and I can’t help but think back to earlier today when I was teaching at school. I work with students, 18 to 21 years old, who are disabled in some way; physically, mentally, behaviorally, or a combination of all three. This morning in the reading class I taught we were going over the newspaper headlines when we came across an announcement for the President’s upcoming speech with an accompanying photograph.
“Who can tell me who this is?” I asked the group. Because of their limited understanding, I decided to stick to the basics.
“The president,” one of the students answered with a tinge of hope in his voice.
“The president of…” I probed.
“Uhhh…” he stammered.
“The United?” I offered.
“President of the United States!” the student exclaimed proudly.
“Good,” I continued. We went on to discuss that the President would be speaking to the country tonight on many of the important issues facing our country.
Out of nowhere one of the wheelchair-bound higher functioning kids shouted out, “The one, the only, President Bush! Bush is a A-S-S hole if you ask me.”
The entire room erupted into guffaws of belly laughter. As I exchanged a knowing look with my colleague across the room I thought to myself, “These kids are really smart! I didn’t know they could spell!” Honestly, I found it funny for much more obvious reasons as well.
So here I sit, gritting my teeth and attempting to make it through the speech in its entirety because I feel as a citizen of this country I ought to. But secretly, I can’t wait to see what the students have to say tomorrow.

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