A helicopter churns above hills covered with oaks near Santa Barbara and descends into green pasture and lands a couple hundred yards from where a man watches, mounted on his horse. When whirling blades stop, he rides up and dismounts and takes off his cowboy hat as the door opens and a heavy man in red cap poses at the top of several pull-down steps before he descends and shakes hands with his smiling host who says, “Welcome to my ranch.”
“Mr. President, it’s an honor to meet you.”
“The honor’s mine, Mr. President. Please, call me Ron.”
“Okay, if you’ll call me Donald.”
“What do you say I get you some riding boots and a cowboy hat and we go for a ride?”
“I admit I don’t ride much anymore but I play a lot of golf. In fact, this place, with the hills and trees and big pond, would make a terrific golf course and resort. Let me know if you ever want to sell it.”
“Nancy and I love this place too much to ever sell it. Follow me.”
They walk to an attractive but modest structure.
“I guess you know, I own one of the most luxurious vacation homes in the world, Mar-a-Lago.”
“I’ve seen pictures of it,” says Ron. “Come on in.”
They sit at a wooden table polished bright.
“I’m doing a lot of the things you did, making American great again and giving people hope.”
“The economy looks good,” says Ron.
“And, like you, I’m rebuilding the military, which was really weak when we took over.”
Ron nods. “I was plenty tough but after making my point I focused on reducing nuclear arms. You seem to be going the other way.”
“The world’s so much more dangerous today than in your time,” says Donald.
“I found the world less dangerous the less we intervened. When three hundred of our marines were blown up in Lebanon, I asked myself what the hell are we doing there, and I brought them home.”
“That would be impossible today, Ron. We’d probably have to invade.”
“There’ll always be wars if leaders want them.”
“I sure don’t want war,” says Donald. “I don’t have a violent bone in my body.”
Ron studies him and says, “There’s chaos at our southern border.”
“I’m making damn sure everyone understands the danger.”
“We’ve had pretty good relations with Mexico since before the Civil War.”
“Come on, Ron. Some of the baddest people on earth are invading us, gang members, murderers, rapists, illiterates.”
“Most people aren’t like that. Have you heard my final speech as president when I talked about our immigrants?”
“I probably heard it but can’t remember everything right now.”
“Here’s the transcript from thirty years ago. All right if I read a little of it?”
Donald nods. “Sure.”
Glancing at his script, Ron says, “America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.’”
“That was before terrorism,” says Donald.
Ron points at his paper and continues, “This I believe is one of the most important sources of America’s greatness. We lead the world because unique among nations, we draw our people, our strength, from every country and every corner of the world… Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier… If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost…’
“I hope you’ll seriously consider what I’ve just said.”
“Keep in touch,” says Donald. “I gotta go. Teeing off this afternoon in Santa Barbara and I may buy the place.”
“The whole town?”
“Just the golf course.”