Boys will be… presidents?

“Sorry I’m late for the meeting. I was just getting into the polling booth when I got your call. Now, what’s all this about?”

“I’m afraid it’s about your son. He’s been incredibly disruptive in the classroom, the playground and the hallways, and we simply can’t accept his behaviour anymore. He must be disciplined, Mr. Johnson.”

“What? Seriously? My son, disruptive? I don’t have time for this nonsense. I’m a red-blooded American participating in the democratic process. I can’t believe you called me in here for that.”

“Mr. Johnson, please sit down and stop waving your arms. We have a long list of infractions that have occurred over the past year alone, ever since the playground incident.”

“What? We’re still talking about that?”

“Well, it’s pretty hard to ignore the sight of a young boy hauling dozens of rubber mats out of the gymnasium, building a barricade along the most high-traffic area of the playground, and refusing to let Hispanic students access the swings and see-saws.”

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“Mr. Johnson, we’ve already informed you multiple times that your son stood on the other side of the gym mats, called several of his fellow students ‘murderers’ and ‘rapists,’ and insisted that they were ‘going to pay for’ his ridiculous stunt.”

“Oh, that! He swore he was calling those kids ‘mercenaries’ and ‘escapists.’ That’s good enough for me. Well, good to chat with you, Miss…”

“There’s more.”

“Impossible. My boy’s got a flawless permanent record.”

“I wish I could agree with you, Mr. Johnson. But we still haven’t forgotten the election for class president, when your son announced that he could ‘stand in the middle of the playground and shoot somebody’ without losing any votes.”

“That’s just harmless schoolyard fun.”

“Was it ‘harmless’ when he made one of his opponents for class president cry by telling her: ‘Look at her face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?’ Was it ‘harmless’ when he followed another opponent around the front of the classroom with a scowl on his face while she was making her opening statement?”

“Oh, you never know what kids will say or do to each other in the heat of the moment.”

“When his teacher, Ms. Kelly, asked him to apologize for his behaviour, he responded with the accusation that she ‘had blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever.’”

“Come on now, that’s locker-room talk. You know, boys-will-be-boys stuff. All the guys at the club talk the same way.”

“I’m sure the people at whatever ‘club’ you’re referencing might be interested in a remark your son made during last week’s Show and Tell.”

Show and Tell? Sounds innocent enough.”

“You would think so. But then little Jenny Ackleberry brought her kitten out to show the class, and your son threatened to steal her pet.”

“That doesn’t sound like my boy at all. Why would he pull a stunt like that?”

“He justified it by saying, ‘When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything – even grab them by the…’”

“Okay, I see where you’re going with this. Actually, that’s kind of funny. Boy, my brothers are going to get a kick out of that when I tell them that story on our next hunting trip.”

“Will your wife?”

“Hey. I’m not that stupid. Let’s just keep that little incident between you and me, okay? No need to get the whole world involved.”

“Well, we’re going to have to get other people involved, perhaps the school board. I’m sure the board’s coordinator of race relations, cross-cultural understanding and human rights…”

“You’ve lost me.”

“…is going to want to hear about your son’s insistence that no more Muslim students or teachers should be permitted on the school grounds until he’s figured out ‘what the hell is going on.’”

“Well, this is all very interesting, ma’am, but we live in a free country and a free world, and my son is definitely free to speak and act the way he wants. He’s not hurting anybody with any of that stuff. Now, if you excuse me, I have to go vote.”

“Wait a minute – you mean you haven’t voted yet?”

“No, like I said earlier, I was just going into the polling station when you called me into your office.”

“Hmmm… We may have to call in the vice-principal. And a couple of teachers, and maybe a janitor or two.”

“What? I don’t want to miss my chance to vote. How long am I gonna be stuck here?”

“As long as it takes, Mr. Johnson…”