The president of the United States wishes for peace in “The Un-American President,” by Jason Dias. Sometimes integrity is doing the right thing because everyone is watching.
“The Un-American President” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.
Find The Golden Door
Farid ducked under a branch laden with cherry blossoms, knowing it would be gone tomorrow. His aide was probably already making the call. Petals lay scattered along the path and, at the end of it, the black, tinted-out truck that would carry him to the airport. Next to the vehicle a young airman ratcheted herself to attention and saluted smartly.
Cameras. They were everywhere now. This path was supposed to be private, but there was Senator Jordan, Kentucky, cell phone in hand.
I have no integrity, Farid thought. If integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is watching, and there is never a private moment, integrity becomes impossible. What are we left with?
—from “The Un-American President” in The Golden Door by Jason Dias
Jason Dias is a neurodivergent existential psychologist living, loving and working in Colorado Springs. He uses horror, science fiction and fantasy to reveal the inner worlds of diverse characters, and to think through hard philosophic problems. These days, he teaches psychology at a community college and keeps largely to himself.