QUICK! Answer this question. Who was Andrew Jackson?
One week prior to President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, the White House Tweeted an invitation for followers to apply for a chance to participate in a Tweetup during the State of the Union on White House grounds. After the Tweetup, invited guests would have the opportunity to ask Obama’s senior administration questions. I applied. Amazingly enough, I was accepted along with about 50 other people from 22 different states ranging in age from 18 to 62. For those not in the know, a Tweetup involves the social media platform, Twitter. People gather together and Tweet about an event.
The experience was amazing, BUT……….my trip was chock full of a comedy of errors worthy of a Shakespearean play. I started referring to my screw-ups as Krisncidents. Said Krisncidents included things like telling a cab driver to take me to North Street when my destination was “N” as in “Nancy Street.” There were many Krisncidents. However, none of the them were as poignant as the one committed during an interaction with a young Sudanese man named Mustafa.
I had some free time while I was in DC, so on the first day the friend I was staying with asked me what I wanted to do. My response was emphatically, “I WANT TO SEE A PROTEST.” She immediately said, “I can take you to Occupy DC and we can walk around the White House.” My heart lit up. Before we went to the Occupy DC camp, we stopped by the White House.
I met Mustafa in front of the White House in Lafayette Park. There is a giant statue of Andrew Jackson in the park (behind me in this picture). Mustafa walked up to me and said in VERY broken English, “Excuse me, who was Andrew Jackson.” I went brain dead. With the confidence of 20 Obamas I blurted out, “Andrew Jackson was the 16th president of the United States.” I went on to tell him things that were so egregiously wrong that I won’t admit to what I said in this blog. Admitting to the 16th president part is bad enough.
Mustafa smiled at me as if I was the smartest person to breathe American air. Oh Mustafa………. LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE POSTER CHILD FOR DUMBASS DISEASE OF AMERICA!
Many of you are saying, “Kris, don’t be so hard on yourself.” Let me remind you that on Memorial Day I will preside over the dedication of a very pricey Andrew Jackson memorial, I live 5 miles from Andy’s residence, and my address is Old FREAKING Hickory. I am ashamed. Needless to say, I’m now reading a book about the SEVENTH president of the United States. So far? I’m in love with the guy (note: I vehemently disagree with his treatment of Indians). Regardless, Andrew’s early life was more difficult than most of us could ever comprehend.
When it was time to enter the White House grounds for the Tweetup, I was detained by security (ahemmm Krisncident). Immediately, I thought, “Oh shit, I failed the Andrew Jackson test.” I was the only Tweeter detained. Turns out, I had applied for the Tweetup as “Kris.” My real name is “Kristina” and all of my ID says that. OOOPS. After a recheck, they let me into the event.
Here are a few more pictures from my DC trip.
I MADE IT!!!! OCCUPY DC eeeek. Whether you agree or disagree with the Occupy movement, and as ugly as Occupy camps can be, the freedom to assemble is beautiful!
Going into the White House Compound. This is the Dwight D. Eisenhower building. We passed very close to the situation room to get to the Tweetup.
This was the post-State of the Union Tweetup panel. You are looking at:
- Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education
- Mark Zuckerman, White House Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council
- Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy
- Brian Deese, Deputy Director National Economic Council
- Ben Rhodes, Deputy NSA for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting
- Jen Palmieri, Deputy White House Communications Director
I cannot express how grateful I am to live in the United States. Political brouhaha often clouds my vision, but in the end it’s still a wonderful place to be.
If you’d like to attend the dedication of the Andrew Jackson memorial on Memorial Day in Old Hickory, Tennessee, please visit www.ohvmp.org for more information