The Kid Who Became President

BOOK: The Kid Who Became President
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To the next generation of leaders.
One of
you
will be president someday.

At exactly noon on January 20, I stood before the world, raised my right hand, and recited the following words:

“I, Judson Moon, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

They say that in America
any
kid — rich or poor, black or white — can become president. Well, I was the kid who
did.

The moment I finished taking the oath of office that day, I was no longer a plain old thirteen-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin. I was the leader of the free world. I was the most powerful person on the planet.

How did it happen? If you've read a book called
The Kid Who Ran for President,
you know the incredible, improbable events that led up to me winning the last election. If you didn't, that's okay.

To make a long story short, I was hanging around with my friend Lane Brainard after school one day when he jokingly suggested that a kid would make a good president of the United States. A kid like me. As a goof, I went along with the idea.

Things kind of snowballed after that. Lane is a true genius, and he figured out how to raise millions of dollars to finance my campaign. He told me what to do, how to act, and what to say. He designed the bumper stickers and T-shirts. He directed the TV commercials. He even figured out how to get a constitutional amendment passed that would allow any American, regardless of age, to run for president.

We got some breaks. The Democratic candidate that year happened to be an idiot. The Republican was a jerk. People seemed to like me for my goofy sense of humor and devil-may-care attitude. That, plus the fact that I have very good hair. The next thing I knew, I was ahead in the polls.

By the time I fully realized that my candidacy wasn't all a big practical joke, it was too late. The Judson Moon for President campaign was like a runaway train. On election night, the American people chose me to be the youngest president in American history. I can hardly believe it really happened.

Then, the night I won the election, I resigned. That's right, I quit. I got on TV and basically yelled at America for being so
stupid
as to elect a kid president of the United States. Everybody was totally blown away that someone would turn down the chance to be president. My mother passed out on national television.

 

Well, my fellow Americans, I'm here to say that I had a change of heart. Politicians do that all the time, you know. It's called a flip-flop. One day you believe one thing, and the next day you take the opposite point of view. It's human nature. People change.

Anyway, I decided to accept the presidency after all. This book is the story of my presidency.

Can a kid — an innocent seventh-grader like me — make a good president? Or did the job totally overwhelm me and make me fall on my face, humiliating me and the office of the president? If you'd like, you can turn to
page 215
and see what happened.

That is, if you're a pea brain who has to have instant gratification.

If I were you, I'd read the book. You might actually enjoy it.

But it's up to you. This is still a free country.

— Judson Moon

The moment I told America I was refusing the presidency, pandemonium broke loose at the Moon for President headquarters in the grand ballroom of the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. That's the town I live in. In the two centuries since George Washington was elected our first president, no candidate had
ever
used his acceptance speech to say he didn't want the job after all.

Cameras flashed like fireworks. Reporters went running to the telephones to call their newspapers and change the headlines from
MOON WINS!
to
MOON WINS … AND QUITS!
Television guys and bloggers were elbowing each other out of the way trying to get to me for interviews.

My friend and campaign manager, Lane Brainard, just stared at me with his mouth open.

The girl I had chosen to be my “first babe”— Chelsea Daniels — started screaming as if she'd seen a monster.

My mom was in shock. She had to be taken to the hospital.

Some people thought I was joking. Others were crying. People were running around as if somebody had pulled the fire alarm. Everybody was acting like the world was coming to an end.

I just laughed. I stood at the podium, watching everything swirl around me, and laughed. It was such a relief that the election was over, I didn't care what happened. I never really wanted to be president in the first place.

 

That night, when all the excitement had died down and I went home, there was a soft knock at the front door. I opened it and Mrs. June Syers wheeled herself in.

Mrs. Syers had been my babysitter when I was a little boy. She was old now and so crippled by Parkinson's disease that she needed a wheelchair to get around. Her mind was sharp, though, maybe the sharpest of any grown-up I knew. When Lane had asked me to select a grown-up to run as my vice president, I picked Mrs. Syers right away.

“Moon, you do have a way of surprising folks,” she chuckled.

“I'm sorry,” I replied. “I kind of messed things up for you, didn't I?”

“Forget it, Moon.”

“I know what you're going to say,” I told her as I wheeled her into the living room. “You're going to say I'm crazy. You're going to say I was always crazy. And I always
will
be crazy. Right?”

“No,” Mrs. Syers replied. “That ain't what I was gonna say.”

“Then, what?”

“Child, when I was born, women weren't even allowed to vote yet. At your age, I couldn't eat in a restaurant where white folks ate. I lived through the Depression. My husband died fighting in World War II. And I lived long enough to almost become vice president. I seen a lot of changes in my life. I learned a few things along the way.”

Her left hand was shaking, as it did sometimes if she needed to take her medication.

“One thing I learned is that life is about chances,” she continued. “We only get a few good ones. When a good chance comes your way, Moon, you gotta grab it or live with the fact that you didn't.”

“So you're saying I should accept the presidency?”

“You and your pal Lane did an amazing thing, winning that election. Now you got a chance. A good chance. If you don't take it, for the rest of your days you're gonna wonder what mighta happened.”

“I can't be president,” I said. “I don't know the first
thing
about being president. I'd be terrible. Lane and I just
tricked
America into voting for me.”

“Sweetie, I lived through a lot of politicians. Very smart men. Lawyers. Governors. Senators. A lot of 'em turned out to be bums. You won't be worse. And you could be better.”

“I just want to go back to being a regular kid again,” I complained.

“You wanna grow up to be a trivia question?” she asked, challenging me. “Or do you wanna make a difference in the world?”

“I'm thirteen,” I said, looking away from her. “What difference am
I
going to make?”

“That's up to you, Moon. The point is, you got a chance. And believe me, in the rest of your life, you're
never
gonna get another chance like this. In two hundred somethin' years, not many men have had this chance. Moon, all I'm sayin' is, you should think it over before deciding. It's not too late to change your mind.”

I thought about what she had said all night long. The next morning, I called Lane.

BOOK: The Kid Who Became President
13.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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