Tonight, kids, our story is about the new president. He's that man that went all over Europe like a rock star, being really nice and handsome so that those kinda smelly folk across the pond would like us again. He can speak like the best preacher or teacher you ever heard. He told us lots of really nice things so that we would put him in charge. You see, Washington, D.C is full of a subhuman species called "Politicians." Somehow, these politicians got to be in charge of our government. By the way, you could turn into a politician if you are not careful. It's true. Only a few people are actually born that way. These politicians really like being in charge of the government. So they spend most of their time doing things to make sure they stay in charge. How can they not be in charge anymore? Well, people called "the voters", every 2, 4, and 6 years get to choose whether or not a politician stays in charge. Can you imagine? These politicians figured out that if you promise to give things to big groups of the voters, they will probably keep you in charge. Your new president said that this was bad, and that if he could be in charge, just this once, he would make sure that those selfish politicians would have some 'splaining to do and he was going to put them in time out. He would bring in new people that didn't do those bad politician things. He told us that the people who figured out a way to make a living by whispering to the politicians what the groups of voters would really like to be promised would not be allowed to be part of the new team. He told us that we were in a "new era of responsibility" which means that everybody -- you, me, your mommy, your daddy, your teacher... everybody would have to do some things that we may not like because it's good for us, like when you have to take medicine that tastes bad but your mommy makes you take it because it's good for you. But when he told us that, it was like the sun was shining more brightly, birds were singing in the trees, and flowers bloomed all around. We decided that if he was going to roll up his sleeves and push down those mean politicians for the good of the country, we would help him by voting for him and rolling up our sleeves, too.
So guess what happened? The voters decided that he could be in charge! There was a party to end all parties. Even people as far away as Africa were dancing in the streets. People cried, they were so happy. On TV, the news people were trembling like your new puppy did the first day you brought him home, with his tail wagging and wanting to lick your face. Things were really going to change! The nasty politicians were going to stay in time out for a long time until they quit being so concerned about being in charge all the time.
Well, I wish this story had a happy ending, but it turns out that the new president told some tales. He wasn't being honest. He started putting people on his team that are crusty old politicians. Some of them, even the one in charge of all the money, didn't pay their taxes. That used to be a bad thing, and if you ever try it, you might get your house taken away from you. But the friends of the new president just said they didn't mean to, and it was OK. No time out. It turns out that the new president is one of those rare people who is actually born a politician! He was just really good at hiding it, like when you are the best bumblebee in the school play and your mommy says "I thought you really were a bumblebee", but it was really you. The new president knew how to say things that would make the voters think he was super-special, but he isn't. You know how some people have a skill, like playing a musical instrument, or being able to run really fast? He has a skill, too... but his skill is fooling people. The scary part is, the voters didn't know about the fooling until after they said he could be in charge. Now they are stuck with a liar-liar-pants-on-fire politician instead of a special man like they thought. Some people still think he is really special, though, like the news people on TV. You know how when you started thinking maybe Santa Claus wasn't real, but you really really believed he was, so you didn't want to really think that he wasn't? So maybe one or two Christmases came and you said "I believe in Santa" because your friends believed in Santa and you liked getting presents that said "From Santa" on them? Then finally your mom or dad or someone else said "Santa isn't really real" and even though you wanted to cry, you thought somehow deep down inside you knew he wasn't already? That's what the news people on TV think about the new president. But it will probably be a Christmas or two before they quit putting out cookies and milk.
Sometimes life isn't fair, kids... but sometimes it is. When you're old enough, you'll get to be a voter, and you can decide who gets to be in charge. So you will have to be really grown-up and think hard about things a politician says that sound wonderful. Unfortunately, the voters this time got all caught up in the promises of presents and specialness and hope and change and forgot to think hard. And when you don't think hard about big decisions, there is something called consequences. That's like when you play baseball too close to the house, and you know you're not supposed to but you do it anyway, and you break the kitchen window? Well, you might say "I was just having fun playing and I forgot about the window" but you still have to take your allowance money and pay for the window? That's a consequence. And what if you didn't fix the window, but ran away and left one of your friends to take the blame but then they ran away and left another friend there, then they ran away too until a long time went by and somebody who wasn't even playing ball got stuck paying for the window? Well, just wait, kids. You or your own children are going to pay for our window.
OK, nite-nite! Sweet dreams.