There is an undercurrent running through the city ever since the Citizen splashed the announcement across the top of the page. The President is coming to town. Without getting into the politics of the thing (I am not a Trump supporter) the very superficial preparations for the royal visit are extraordinary. And in my lowly position as a night dispatcher at the police station I have nothing to do with anything. All I know is what I see.
But what I do see is a country reacting to September 11th in ways that while necessary are saddening. I think back to stories of President Truman accompanied by a very discreet bodyguard taking his daily walk through Key West stopping to talk to people and taking coffee with the citizens. These days the advance teams for the President sweep the route and meticulously prepare the smallest detail. I could not abide traveling like this, in a cocoon. But there's a lot about being President I could not abide.
It's a bit silly really to see all these restrictions posted because now we know exactly where the President will be driven even if no one has said exactly when, though the parking restrictions are from 8 am to 4 pm tomorrow. We can assume traffic chaos and even though the visit to the anti drug trafficking facility in Truman Annex is the goal, we don't know what else might be involved or where. We are told the visit will last a mere two hours. I sort of doubt that but however long it takes I don't think this will be an easy day to get around Key West. As he is flying to the Navy Base at Boca Chica the chaos will only start at Mile Marker 8 and related back ups. I shall sleep in and walk Rusty.
I saw Fat Albert flying in these strong winds this past week so I suppose aerial surveillance will be in place and talking to a friend he told me he he was supposed to be meeting a noon flight on Thursday at Key West airport. He looked gloomy at the prospect of coping and I don't blame him.
It is a world we are being obliged to live in, one dominated by fear and the cult of celebrity. When performers show up in town they get similar treatment on a smaller scale, and no one wants their head of state killed by some assassin, as hard as such a thing is to imagine in Key West. I wasn't even alive then but I miss the world President Truman governed, a place of war changing to peace, of hunger and strife and change. Yet it was still a place where the President could walk the streets unafraid and open. I hate to think such days are gone forever.