Guess who’s coming to dinner


Would you go to the White House for dinner?

That’s a serious question. I’m asking you, sincerely, if you would go. I mean, obviously I can’t score you an invitation to a big formal affair (or even a casual afternoon sandwich in some kitchen corner). But the basic idea is there.

If you were invited to go to the White House for some type of meal, would you?

As most of us know, we are still being battered around a bit by one of the most awesomely intense political storms ever unleashed on the United States. Regardless of your opinions, beliefs, actions and more… beyond any definition of embarrassing, great, horrendous, unimaginable, striking and so on… despite any other factors or stories you would like to explore… and without regard to the claims of it being the most important election in our lives, until the very next election becomes the most important… the reality is simple, this has been staggering.

Right now, as we approach the national celebrations associated with a presidential inauguration, we are seeing all sorts of speeches, actions, statements, and… and… and…

(Good lord, will it ever end?)

I’m tired of all this stuff. Don’t like the finger-pointing. Don’t like the chest-thumping. Don’t like the over-played-emotional-outbursts telling me what I’m supposed to feel, believe, or appreciate. Don’t like it from any corner of the debate.

And that brings me back to the original question.

Would you go to the White House for dinner?

Most of us will never set foot inside the White House.

Depending on what sources you investigate, approximately 1.2 million people do visit the property every year. Impressive. Breaking those numbers down however… repeat visitors, where the visitor has travelled from, etc.… is a bit more problematic. Hard to tell who has been there before. Worth considering American citizens and foreign guests. Plus, most people seem to believe that 100,000 per month is the high end of visitor totals, which would likely bring our rough number down.

Still… at one million visitors per year, it would take more than three hundred years for all of the American citizens in our current population to stop by and say hello. (Again, most of us aren’t going to make it.)

I’m going beyond stopping by the fence for a picture though and being at the White House… beyond reaching out to your representative (or embassy) to request a visit. I’m talking about being invited to dinner.

Imagine an invitation being extended for you and a guest to attend a presidential state dinner at the White House. Would you turn that down?

It’s an interesting thought.

As of right now, I have never been invited to dine at the White House. Not a state dinner… no sandwich.

My family did visit the White House decades ago. My parents worked out a family vacation to Washington, D.C., that included a ton of stops. Smithsonian museums, the Supreme Court, Capitol Hill, and more were on the itinerary. And one day, we stepped inside the White House. (We didn’t eat there.)

Behind my question is, naturally, that other thing I opened the essay up with… the topsy-turvey-stormy political climate. A meal at the White House is kind of a big thing. It’s that intimate connection that goes along with breaking bread united with the White House. And I do wonder…

If presented with the honor of an invitation to one of the most amazing evenings and experiences possible, how do your values and thoughts influence your R.S.V.P.?

You don’t have to tell me. And don’t just think in terms of today and any specific occupant of the White House. Be honest with yourself. What might change your mind… make you accept… make you decline?

Would you go to the White House for dinner?

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