Empty Chair for president

By Lawrence De Geest

Ladies and gentlemen of the Democratic and Republican parties, thank you for being here tonight at this unprecedented gathering. Mr. Eastwood, thank you for the introduction. Give us a smile.


My fellow Americans: we are a country divided. Not since the civil war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which caused such terrible destruction, have I seen discord the likes we have today. Meanwhile, the news is grim.  Ben Bernanke went on vacation because he said the economy is so bad and there is no point in trying anymore; I read in The Onion that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney plan to settle the election over Words With Friends; and Steve Jobs is dead! How did I not hear about this?

But this is about something deeper. We know the truth: that we are hopelessly divided, and that this electoral season has shown us that our divisions will only grow deeper, regardless if you vote for the donkey or for the elephant. Why don’t we choose another animal? I hear you ask. Like the turkey?  Or Bill Belichick? That is a good question, and I am sure it has an answer. But that is not why I am here.

Folks, I stand – sit – before you tonight offering a different solution, one that will end our bitter divorce. One that will repair the bridges we destroyed because we never considered how much they could bear. A solution that will again make America the greatest tourist destination in the history of civilization. One solution, once and for all.

My solution, good people, is me. I, Empty Chair, offer to you my candidacy for president.

Doubts abound among you. I hear you. Is that chair really talking? Will he support the things that slick, influential people tell me to believe? And who wrote this terrible speech?

Let me convince you that I am the president for you.

You ask for experience. Well, I have experience. After a successful spell as student body president at my university, in which I both spearheaded the cooking of the world’s largest bowl of clam chowder and ended America’s foreign wars – only to accidentally start several other ones, though I forget why – I spent many years hoboing across this fine country of passionate sports fans on a mission to avoid as much responsibility as possible. Many of you can relate. This is called life experience and great leadership demands it.  I know how to make the tough decisions in an austere world. Like, peanut butter or jelly? Or should I just rob that Taco Bell? Tough decisions, ladies and gentlemen.

You ask for a leader to give you the simple things in life – like making sure you get your way and everyone else deals with it. But look, that isn’t what’s important. Think about this. You are humans. Your ideas, beliefs, hopes and desires are in your heads, which are attached to your bodies.  Me, I am an empty chair. I am here to support those bodies when they are tired – say from walking around the parking lot because they forgot where they parked their cars. I am here to support those heads when they are weary from coming to grips with the hardships of life – such as smelling that shirt from yesterday to know if it is clean enough to wear today.

You wonder if there are alternatives. But consider who else we have. Senator Lamp?  Always on and off. Congressman Refrigerator? He has a cold heart. And what about our beloved Governor Television? My friends, he has not an original idea to his name.

Because what America needs is not another wishy-washy, boring-suit and wears-matching-socks politician. No, my friends. America needs a chance to sit down and talk together. A chance to sit down and solve all these problems we have. A chance to figure out what really matters. A chance to sit down and get to work.

America needs an empty chair.

My fellow Americans: I am that Empty Chair.

I am that Empty Chair in the dining room where Sergeant Charles used to sit, before Dad came back to the family and said no dogs at the table.

I am that Empty Chair in the lecture hall where the undergraduate normally sits, but he is missing the exam because he is looking at pictures on Facebook of this girl he kind of likes but isn’t sure because she once hooked up with this guy he thinks is a d-bag, but then again she studied abroad in France, which makes her sort of exotic, but look, it’s complicated, and you have to use your “likes” sparingly.
I am that Empty Chair in the Registry of Motor Vehicles, because nobody works there, apparently.

I am that Empty Chair where the United States representative normally sits at the meeting of world nations and superheroes called to figure out how to curb carbon emissions from dragons, but he’s at happy hour.

I am that empty chair at Fenway Park, because, jeez, how bad are the Rod Sex this year? Sorry, the Red Sox. Curling is not my sport.

Look around. What is a vote for me but truly an acknowledgment of our present reality? For I am America, ladies and gentlemen. America is an empty chair.

So when the day to vote comes – you’ll have to remind me what day exactly – remember one thing: you can’t sit down in a voting booth. And after all these hard years, don’t you just really want to sit down? Especially you folks in the audience, hanging from the rafters. I will always be there for you, for I am a chair, and I can’t move.

Thank you. God Bless America, and God Bless that person who just sneezed.

Now, Mr. Eastwood, if you will kindly toss this old chair a beer.

Lawrence De Geest is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]