Monday, October 11, 2021

Tale 6 - President Matt - The First Year - 70-80%


Once upon a time, in a far off kingdom, Matt got woke up early and was told he was President. 

"How can I be President?" 

"Your father's term is up."

"But how does that make me President?"

"We called your Dad a President but really he was our king, and as his son, you have to replace him."

"Why would you replace him with me? I'm not qualified. I'm nine years old!"

"Because the President doesn't have to do anything, he can tell his advisors to do things but the kingdom will run perfectly if the President just does everything his advisors tell him." 

"Dad didn't do anything as President?" 

"He did plenty, but whenever he went against our advice, we always went to war. You don't want the country to go to war do you?"


"So what's important is that you always do what your advisors tell you, because we know what's best." 

"OK... So where's my Dad?"

"Writing history books probably." 

"Can I talk to him?"

"We'd rather you didn't."


"Because your dad was President in a different time and your presidency will be totally different." 

"But he might have experience that can help me."

"He doesn't."

"Why not?"

"Because he had some wrong ideas about what was important."

"What important things was he wrong about?"

"You don't have to know that. You just have to follow our advice."

"So let me see if I understand. I'm the President who's really the king, but the king shouldn't actually learn anything and just follow your advice, because every time Dad acted against his advisors, he killed a lot of people?"



Pretty soon, every kingdom in the world was at war except for Matt's kingdom, and it was a very bad war. So bad that most of Matt's subjects didn't want to join it, and most of Matt's advisors didn't either, though a few did, and Matt thought it was odd that he was told to always do what his advisors told him when his advisors didn't agree about what to do. 

But everybody was worried that one kingdom or another would attack them and they would have to go to war anyway. Every one of his advisors had a different solution to avoid war. 

Matt was confused. He was told to always do what his advisors said, but all of them said to do something different.

One day, Matt was out on a walk in the park when as he walked by, he heard two poor men talking.

"That poor boy President, he has no idea what he's doing and his advisors are trying to fool him just like they tried fool his Dad." 

"Yeah but they didn't always fool his Dad, his Dad knew they were bad advisors." 

This was the first Matt heard that maybe he was getting bad advice. Matt had to hear more of what these guys had to say so he asked them:

"You think my advisors are bad?" Matt asked.

"Look at them, look at their three piece suits and fancy cigars, then look at us! We have holes in our shoes!" The first poor man answered. 

"That's not right." Matt responded.

"No it isn't." said the second poor man.

"They just want you to think they're giving you good advice." said the first. 

"Is there anyone who could give me better advice?" asked Matt.

"There's one man who would give you great advice." said the second. 

"Yeah! He's the smartest man in the kingdom!" said the first. 

"What's his name?" Matt asked.

The second answered: "His name is Lou the Jew."


Matt told his advisors he wanted to get advice from Lou the Jew. 

"You don't want advice from Lou the Jew, he'll give you bad advice." said one advisor.

"He'll only give you advice that helps other Jews." said another.

"People only think he's so smart because he's a Jew."  said a third. 

"And besides, he insults us advisors to your people all the time!" said a fourth. 

Matt asked. "Why would he insult you?" 

"Probably because he's a Jew" said a fifth.

Matt asked. "Have any of you done anything bad enough to make people insult you?" 

The advisors went to a corner and whispered to each other. When they came back a sixth advisor said to Matt:

"You have to understand. Lots of people don't know what's best for the country. We do. And a lot of people are in this country because we were nice enough to let them come. But now that they're here, they always want more things from us."

Matt responded: "Well it can't hurt to give them a few more things. Can it?"

"If you give them one thing, they'll want another, and then another, and eventually they'll want everything we have." said a seventh. 

That answer made Matt ask: "Why can't we all just share everything?" 

"Because some people are different than us. They're not as honest or as smart or as hard working. Why should we share everything when we worked hard to earn what we have?" said an eighth. 

Matt persisted: "Still, it can't hurt to give them just a little bit more."

"If we give them a little bit more, they will want a lot more, and they might steal it." said a ninth. 

Matt asked: "Do you have any proof that they would do that?"

"Jews aren't like us. And if you make a Jew an advisor, all the other kinds of people who aren't like us will want to become advisors too." said a tenth. 

Matt realized that getting his advisors to send for Lou the Jew was going to take a lot longer than a single day. He tried every day for four months, but they always came up with an excuse not to send for him. 

After four months, Matt decided to leave his big house and see Lou the Jew for himself. 


When Matt got to Lou the Jew's office, he had to wait for a long line of people to see Lou first. Matt waited next to a man who looked crazy and kept talking to himself. Matt asked what happened to him, but the man didn't answer. 

Then Matt saw a woman with no legs and a man missing an arm. Matt asked them what happened to them. The woman told Matt she was run over by a train whose brakes didn't work, and the man told Matt his arm was cut off by a machine in a factory.

Then Matt saw a boy and a girl around his own age. He asked what they were doing in Lou the Jew's office. They told him they were brother and sister, and their parents died last year, but they had no money and they were still too young to work for another year.  

Matt answered them "Can't people just give you some money?"

"Nobody ever gave us any money but Lou the Jew. Nobody else cares about us but him." 

Just then, Lou the Jew came out of his office and looked around at all the people who wanted to see him.

"Mr. Jew? My name is President Matt and I'd like your advice on some things." 

"Mr. President! I've been expecting you, but you're going to have to wait just like everybody else. Come back to me at 9 o'clock."

"But I go to bed at eight."

"Sometimes people with grown up jobs have to stay up late to finish their work." 

As Matt left he realized that was the best piece of advice anybody gave him. 

And Lou the Jew went into the office with the crazy looking man who couldn't speak for himself. 


At nine o'clock Matt came back to Lou the Jew's office. 

Lou gave Matt some cookies, and while Matt munched on them he asked:

"Is it true that my advisors are bad?"

"A few of your advisors are bad, but most of them are just wrong." Lou the Jew answered.

"Are you always right Mr. Jew?"

"Of course not. Nobody's always right, but it's very hard to figure out what's right and what's wrong, and if you want to figure that out you have to work very hard. Even the smartest of us are wrong some of the time."

"Is there anyone who's right all the time?"

"Maybe God, but even he might be wrong some of the time too."

"How do I learn what's right?"

"By working hard, reading a lot of books. talking to a lot of people, learning what effect your decisions have on other people."

"What are they wrong about?"

"That poor people can't be helped."

"They can be helped?"

"Of course, and if you don't help them, they'll get angry and make life tougher for you."

"Did my father care about poor people?"

"Sometimes. He made some really good decisions and some really bad ones."

"What were his good decisions?"

"He went to war to free the slaves." 

"But war is bad." 

"Most wars are bad, but that war was good." 

"Why was it good?" 

"Before that war, one in every five people in our country was a slave. They had to work the whole day, every day of their lives. They didn't have any rights, they couldn't take breaks, they couldn't spend time with their families, and they had to do whatever their masters told them. A lot of people who owned slaves didn't want to give them up, but your dad forced them give their slaves up."

"But a lot of people died in that war."

"A lot more people died as slaves before he freed them." 

"What's a bad decision Dad made?" 

"He expanded our country's territory." 

"But isn't it good that our country's bigger?"

"Our country was big enough." 

"Dad always said we would do a better job running the new parts of the country than anybody else would." 

"We might, but the price for that is that we'll be blamed when things there go wrong, and things always go wrong."

"Have things already gone wrong out there?"

"Yes, many times. We threw many people out of their homes who already lived in those territories so that other people could move into their empty houses."

"Why did we do that?" 

"Because your dad thought the people who already lived out there were less important than the people who lived here, and he thought there wasn't enough room for everybody who lived here. So your dad sent many poor people here to live out there, and he made the people who were already out there homeless."

"That's a lot to think about. I think I need to go to sleep." 

"Well have a good night Mr. President. I hope we get to talk again soon." 


The next morning, a very tired President Matt told his advisors about his meeting with Lou the Jew. They were not pleased. 

As President Matt told his advisors the details of their meeting, one advisor interrupted angrily "This is why you need your advisors! It's Lou's people, the Jews, who are making poor people so angry because they're telling the poor people that rich people don't care about them!"

"Don't you care about poor people?" asked Matt.

A second advisor said: "Of course, but we can't help them."

"Why can't you?" asked Matt.

A third advisor answered: "Because eventually they'll want more help." 

"Why can't we help them then?" asked Matt.

A fourth advisor responded: "Because if we help them enough eventually they'll be our equals!" 

"What's wrong with that?" asked Matt.

Said a fifth advisor: "If we make them equals, they eventually may want to be our superiors." 

"Like the way we're their superiors now?" asked Matt.

There was a pause in the room for a few seconds until a sixth advisor shouted: "This is always how it starts! Some Jew seems so much smarter than the rest of us and the king makes him his most important advisor. Then the advisor helps other Jews become important people too, and the Jew lies to the King and says that his advice will help everybody, but eventually the king always realizes that the only people who've been helped by the Jews' advice is other Jews!"

"I don't think Jews lie any more than anybody else." answered Matt.

 A seventh advisor asked Matt: "Have you ever dealt with Jews before?"

"No." answered Matt.

An eighth advisor responded with the question: "Have you read any history?" 

"No." answered Matt.

A ninth advisor answered back "There's a faraway country called France that gave poor people some of the things they wanted, and the end result was the people demanded more and more, eventually the kingdom couldn't give them everything they wnated, and that caused the poor people to start a revolution. By the end of the revolution killed all the rich people and cut off the head of the king." 

"I didn't know that." answered Matt.

A tenth advisor said "And then all the poor people went to war with each other!" 

An eleventh advisor said "And then they went to war with their entire continent!" 

Then a twelfth advisor said "And those wars lasted for thirty years!"


President Matt had a lot to think about that night. He didn't think any of the stuff the advisors said about Jews seemed true at all, but the points about revolution did make a lot of sense. Maybe his advisors were right and Lou the Jew was wrong. 

But Lou the Jew did say that if Matt wanted the country to remain peaceful, they would have to give poor people some of the things they wanted. Maybe Lou the Jew was right, and maybe his old advisors were right too. But how can two sides of an argument be right at the same time?

So the next morning, President Matt got up really early and went to Lou the Jew's office before the workday started. Lou the Jew's door was open and he saw Matt when the President walked into the waiting room. 

"Hello Mr. President! You must be working hard to be up so early!" 

"Mr. Jew, have you ever heard of France?"

"I've certainly read about it."

"Did you know they had a revolution?"

"I did."

"My advisors told me their revolution wouldn't have happened if rich didn't give money to the poor."

"The French Revolution happened because the rich didn't give money to the poor soon enough." 

"Why does it matter when they get the money?" 

"Because by the time the poor people got the money, the rich people didn't have much money to give anymore." 

"Why didn't my advisors tell me that? Did they keep that part from me on purpose?" 

"I don't know. Maybe they kept it from you on purpose, or maybe they forgot, or maybe they just didn't know that detail." 

"I've been thinking about it Mr. Jew, and I think I need to hear a different point of view like yours more often. Would you come work for me as an advisor?"

"Mr. President, I'm honored, but if I accept, your advisors will make life hard for both of us."

"Your life seems pretty hard already and your advice seems too good to not listen to." 

"Well, Mr. President, if you're ready to make a Jew an advisor I would be honored." 

"The honor is all mine Mr. Jew." 


Lou the Jew's first idea was to have everyone in the kingdom give a little bit of their money to the government.

"Making people pay the government money is wrong!" said the first advisor. 

"That's stealing people's money!" said the second advisor. 

"People should be able to spend their money how they want." said the third advisor. 

Lou the Jew responded: "What do you think people want more? Control over all their money, or the ability to send their kids to good schools, have policemen who make their streets safe, make sure their food won't make them sick. Why do we have a government if the government doesn't make sure people's lives are better." 

"But some people don't need those things!" said the fourth advisor. 

Lou the Jew responded: "What kind of life are you living if you don't get an education and don't leave your house?" 

The fifth advisor got angry: "This is what Jews always think! They think they're so smart and they know better than the rest of us!" 

Lou the Jew stayed very calm and said: "I don't know if I'm smarter than any of you, but I've worked hard to learn things and I know what it's like to be poor and worried about my kids' safety. do you?" 

The other advisors had no good answer for that because they knew they didn't, so President Matt decided that everybody had to give part of their income to the government, and the schools got better, and the police made the streets safer, and many less people got sick from food. 


Lou the Jew told President Matt his next idea in private because he knew that the other advisors would be very angry. 

"My new idea is that people who are injured while working should get money if they can't do their job anymore." 

President Matt asked: "Why do people get injured on their job?"

"Because a lot of people work in factories with huge machines, and big machines can be dangerous." 

"Can't we just make the workplaces safer?" 

"We should do that too, but our country has millions of people. You need big machines to make things for that many people, and there's no way to guarantee that those machines will be safe." 

"So who should pay for the workers if they get hurt?"

"Their bosses."

"Can't the bosses just try their best to make the machines as safe as possible?"

"They'll try harder to make the machines safe if they know they'll have to pay more money if the machines aren't safe."  

"What if the bosses can't afford it?"

"Then the government can help them pay the workers."

"That sounds like a really good idea."

When President Matt brought up this idea to his advisors, they were furious. 

"Mr President! The bosses shouldn't be held responsible for things the workers knew might happen when they signed up for the job!" said one advisor. 

"The workers can always choose another job!" said a second advisor. 

Lou the Jew responded: "Almost every job for poor people is dangerous. No matter what job they choose they might get hurt." 

"What if the worker can still work at another job in the same factory?" said a third advisor. 

"Well, if he can work at another job, they can put him at another job, long as he doesn't make any less money."

A fourth advisor got mad: "This is just a Jewish idea! All the Jews are poor, and he wants to give more money to poor Jews to make them rich!" 

A fifth advisor was confused, "Wait. I thought all the Jews were rich and they were the bosses." 

President Matt saw that only Lou the Jew was making any sense, so Matt made a law that bosses had pay  workers who got hurt at their jobs, and after the law passed, there were many less homeless people. 


Lou the Jew's next idea was almost dangerous, so dangerous that he knew he had to present it to all the advisors at the same time as President Matt or else they'd accuse him of trying to influence President Matt without their knowledge. 

Lou the Jew's idea was to give women the right to vote. 

This made all of President Matt's advisors angry. 

"Women aren't as smart as men!" said the first advisor.

Lou the Jew answered: "Of course they are! Is your mother any stupider than your father?"

"Why should women get to vote when they don't even work?" asked a second advisor, angrily. 

Lou the Jew responded "Well women should work too..."

"But then women will take our jobs!" said a third advisor.

Lou the Jew responded "Well, you'll just have to be really good at your job so that you can keep it." 

"But how will women know how to do jobs when nobody's shown them how?" asked a fourth advisor. 

A fifth advisor asked: "How will they even know how to vote when nobody's talked to them about politics?" 

Lou the Jew responded very cleverly: "Maybe that's the problem. Maybe we men have been keeping women from learning how to do things so that we get to do whatever we want." 

A sixth advisor said "But women might have different ideas about how to run the country than men! If they get the right to vote, they might want other things we have too!" 

"Why are you so scared of giving women the right to vote? The President is still secretly the king and men like all of you still decide who the king will be."

And of course, another advisor got very angry: "I think you only want to give women the right to vote so that they might help you become the President after President Matt!" 

Lou the Jew answered him slightly sadly: "I don't even think the women of this country would make a Jew President."  

So women were given the right to vote, and everybody got better at their jobs. 


At this point, the kingdom was so much better than it was before Lou the Jew arrived that President Matt stopped listening to his other advisors and decided to make whatever law Lou the Jew wanted, but the laws Lou the Jew made began to make less and less sense.  

Lou the Jew's next idea was to ban alcohol. 

"What's alcohol?" asked President Matt. 

"It's like chocolate for grownups, but it's much stronger than chocolate. Imagine if you ate 200 Hershey's bars in a single day. You might think that sounds amazing, but you'd feel really really sick. You wouldn't be able to do any homework, you wouldn't be able to talk to your friends, all you could do is sit around and think about how sick the chocolate made you. But tomorrow, you wouldn't stop loving chocolate, would you?"


"Well, 200 Hershey's bars are like having one drink of alcohol, and some people drink 20 drinks every day. If adults stop drinking alcohol, they would be better parents, and they would be better at their jobs, and they wouldn't get sick as often." 

President Matt wasn't convinced this idea was as good as Lou's others. The President remembered how sick he got once after eating just one chocolate bar. No grownup he ever met could eat 200 chocolate bars twenty times a day. 

But Lou the Jew was right about so many other things that maybe he was right about this too, so President Matt banned alcohol. 

But the grownups drank the alcohol anyway, and the alcohol made people even more sick because the government no longer made sure it was safe, and some people were so desperate to drink that they fought and stole from each other to get it. 


President Matt was even more uneasy about Lou the Jew's next idea. 

"My new idea is that poor people should be banned from having more children."

"Are you sure about this?" 

"There are still so many poor people in this country. I've shown you how bad their lives are. Maybe it will be easier to help them if there are less of them." 

"I don't know Mr. Jew, this law doesn't sound as good as your others. Let me think about this one." 

President Matt went to bed and decided that maybe this time his other advisors would have some good advice, but to President Matt's surprise, his other advisors were very enthusiastic about this idea. The only person in the big mansion who thought it might be a bad idea was President Matt. 

So he decided to take everybody's advice. Poor people were banned from having more children, and the results were felt for years to come. 


By late in the first year of Matt's presidency, his country had to go to war because his ships kept being attacked by one of the other kingdoms. But by then, the war was nearly over, and Matt's country was on the winning side. 

"Mr. President," said the Prime Ministers of two of the other kingdoms, "You have done such a great job running your country that we'd like your advice for how to achieve piece." 

"I don't know," said President Matt, "I'm still only ten years old."

"A very competent ten year old!" said one of the Prime Ministers.

"With lots of experience in government!" said the other.

"Maybe the problem is that we've been looking at it through a grownup's eyes." said the first.

"Maybe it takes child-like innocence to see what we don't see."

"I don't know, so many of my best ideas have come from my advisor, Lou the Jew. Is it possible I can ask him for advice?"

"OH NO! NOT A JEW!" said them both.

"He's very smart."

"Actually, I'm quite fond of certain Jews." said one of the Prime Ministers. 

"Believe it or not, so am I." said the other. 

"They are a very smart people." 

"And they've been treated rather poorly." 

"Why don't we see what the Jew has to say." 

"It couldn't hurt." 

And so President Matt went to mediate peace treaty with Lou the Jew as his advisor.  

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