I recently read this poem by Mary Oliver:
I have a little dog who likes to nap with me.
He climbs on my body and puts his face in my neck.
He is sweeter than soap.
He is more wonderful than a diamond necklace,
which can't even bark.
I would like to take him to Kashmir and the Ukraine,
and Jerusalem and Palestine and Iraq and Darfur,
that the sorrowing thousands might see his laughing mouth.
I would like to take him to Washington, right into
the oval office
where Donald Rumsfeld would crawl out of the president's
and kneel down on the carpet, and romp like a boy.
For once, for a moment, a rational man.
Now that's an idea worth sharing - what might we bright to the influential and the sorrowing multitudes so that they may gain reason, or perhaps better said, let go of reason and let love and joy in? I think that I would bring a parrot to the oval office.
I wouldn't be the first.
Many presidents have owned parrots.
Lyndon B. Johnson had lovebirds, John Kennedy had parakeets, Theodore Roosevelt and James Madison had macaws, William McKinley had Yellow-headed Mexican Parrot that could whistle "Yankee Doodle" and Andrew Jackson had some unknown species of parrot named Pol. His pet parrot was removed from his funeral because the bird was swearing.
The parrot that I would offer to our head of state would be bettered mannered than this, but hopefully not too politically correct. In this prestigious office the bird would bow down his head, raising his neck feathers in which President Obama would promptly bury his nose and inhale sacredness. Then he would reaffirm his faith that there is nothing sweeter than life itself, or more beautiful than this bird, himself, others, republicans, democrats, Muslims, or talk show hosts. He might secretly see himself as President Parrot, no more, and no less. Then he would wing himself to Afghanistan, Yemen, Bolivia, Argentina, or Venezuela and offer liberation by now bowing down his head and kneeling on the carpet to the beauty within and the beauty without. Such is my hope here in the dog days of August.