News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 10, 2015: I put aside the episode I had been working on once I saw this photo today.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke right behind President Obama, coming down the stairs of Air Force One, arriving in Jamaica on Wednesday.
Not in the middle of some big group leaving Air Force One in a bunch. NO – Yvette Clarke ALONE right behind President Obama – just the TWO of them descending from the world’s greatest power stage Air Force One together.
Take a look again. This is what power is all about, at least at a superficial level which is very important in the Real World. Do you have any idea what an elected official or anyone else in halls of power would give to be seen leaving Air Force One just a step behind the President of the United States?
If you don’t know then let me tell you – they would give ANYTHING for the privilege.
This picture tells everyone in the Caribbean – if you want to reach the President and his Inner Circle – your best bet now is Congressmember Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn, New York. Individuals do not casually decide to leave Air Force One as the first person behind the President. You get invited to follow the President. Otherwise you get tackled by the Secret Service.
You can count on the fact that President Obama decides it for himself. Air Force One may be even more about privilege and power than The White House. Many more individuals get to go to The White House than get an invitation to ride with the President on Air Force One. So simply receiving the invitation from a member of his staff that the President “would like you to join him on Air Force One” for a trip to anywhere is either a reward or the President needs your assistance and wants to impress you with this offer.
Then aboard Air Force One there are various markers of power and influence. Where exactly is your seat in the guest section. Are you in the first row or all the way in the back? And has a large group of individuals been invited on this trip. Or are you one of very, very few special guests?
Do senior members of The White House staff make it a point to come by and speak with you about something, anything? Does the chef on Air Force One know something very special you would like for dinner and surprise you with it? If your star is even higher in the Presidential sky during the flight you will join senior staff in the conference room for a formal briefing and to get your input. If you are even more important, President Obama will come by and sit in on part of the meeting to hear what you have to say.
Then there are the Truly Blessed who are invited to the upper deck of this flying palace 747 into President Obama’s private suite. Very, very few get to make that leap. That is the President’s personal space, where he gets to watch NBA games in private on his big screen and eat in splendor away from prying eye; and where he has exercise equipment to work out and of course a luxurious bathroom and big comfortable bedroom so he gets his rest.
Now if you get invited up there for a private conversation, WOW. Even better if Barack asks you to watch a basketball or football game with him! WOW! WOW! OR really reaching for the sky, the President asks you to dine with him in his private suite on Air Force One. WOW, WOW, WOW!
The point is, Air Force One is a hot bed of power. There are even many more nuances every minute of every trip aboard Air Force One that I am not going to detail here but every moment high in the sky on Air Force One as a guest of the President could be scored like a major league game if you were watching every moment on a monitor and keeping score.
So what about Yvette? What about the fairly long ride from DC to Jamaica?
I have no idea at all what went on aboard Air Force One as she winged her way from DC to Kingston, Jamaica with President Obama on his Big Plane. Still it is possible to make a good guess based on the all important fact that Congressmember Yvette Clarke was accorded the ultimate honor of al – l stepping off Air Force One right behind Barack Obama.
It is safe to imagine Yvette was treated ROYALLY during the flight by everyone including President Barack Obama himself!
As for the regal descent from Air Force One down the royal stairs ….
Why is that so important? Because when Air Force One lands it is pure theatre the President of the United States descending from the sky like a an all powerful Greek God in the world’s most famous and impressive airplane representing the most powerful nation on Earth.
Air Force One glides from the runway and slowly comes to a stop in front of the Presidential limousine (arriving earlier with other armored vehicles), a long line of support vehicles and lots of Secret Service agents, local police on motorcycles, etc. and the welcoming party which often includes that nation’s head of state or if a domestic trip the Governor of the state.
And then the door to Air Force One opens high above atop with a very long stairway one rarely if ever sees since most big planes arrive at terminals. So the giant door opens everyone is silent and after a pause THE President of the United States emerges a figure of power and splendor for all to see.
THE STAGE IS SET for the person second only to the President on Air Force On this day, next emerged from the belly of the beast right behind The Man, Yvette Clarke. You may not notice or care but that does not matter; you have no power or influence. It matters a lot to those standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting to greet President Obama and his very SPECIAL guest on the flight. It matters to all those back in DC and other world capitals who see the photo of President Obama and his “second” descending right behind him.
IN THIS CASE … Congress member Yvette Clarke! For all practical purpose that crowned Yvette QUEEN of the Caribbean where it counts in President Obama’s eyes and all those who work for him and seek his favor and the even wide circle of the rich and powerful.
Guaranteed there is not any Caribbean head of state or other Caribbean VIP who did not notice. Whether they were all pleased or not, they know they have to deal with Yvette Clarke. At the very least, they do not want to get on her bad side. NOT the Queen of the Caribbean in the Power Capital of Washington, DC.
I had the ‘privilege’ of knowing Yvette when she was nobody back in Brooklyn back in the 1990s. Her claim to fame was that her mother the Honorable Una Clarke was the Jamaican New York City Council Member.
I also remember asking Yvette when she was then Council Member Clarke, who succeeded her mother in May 2004 after unsuccessfully running for Congress her first try to come see a young unknown state senator from Illinois with the unexpected name of Barack Obama running for U.S. Senate.
Her mother told me Yvette was too busy to waste her time.
The idea that a decade later Yvette would come down the stairs from Air Force One standing right behind PRESIDENT Obama was ludicrous.
Of course if she had come to that fundraiser – not even having to pay as a Council Member – back in May 2004 and met Obama and have stood on stage with him in front of 1000 mostly young Black professional cheering fans of Barack and she had been the ONLY NYC politician who bothered to show up Yvette would not have had to wait a decade for her reward.
Yvette’s reign as Queen of the Caribbean may only last a year and a half but she can take solace in the fact long after Barack is gone she’ll still be in DC.