BTS correspondent Art Van Delay sat down with former US President Theodore Roosevelt in the bar of the Menger Hotel to discuss his thoughts on our country and world today.
AVD: Thank you Mr. President for taking time to visit.
TR: Glad to do it son.
AVD: What brings you back to the Menger?
TR: Rough Rider reunion, 113th year.
AVD: Do you have a reunion every year?
TR: Try too. Missed a few like when my nephew was President during the second great war, he had me in Europe.
AVD: What do you guys do?
TR: What the hell do you think we do?
AVD: I meant besides drink?
TR: Stares silently at AVD like he’s a moron.
AVD: So tell me; may I call you Teddie?
AVD: Ah well then Mr. President, what do you think about the world today?
TR: That’s a pretty big question…how I can I put this? It sucks.
AVD: Excuse me?
TR: I said it S- U- C- K- S.
AVD: I heard you, just a little taken aback.
TR: Son, let me explain. There’s a whole lot of great stuff out there now; things we never even imagined in my day. The whole technology thing, going to the damn moon, airplanes the size of a football field, cures to disease, you name it, this world has it.
AVD: So why does it, ah um-- suck?
TR: Cause its missing the one thing we had and this great country has always had, what keeps it alive and vibrant.
AVD: What’s that?
TR: Hope son, hope for a better tomorrow, a brighter future; the sense that you will leave the world in a better shape than when you came in. Without that, we’re dead, no pun intended.
AVD: How do we get it back?
TR: You cain’t get it back till you figure out how you lost it.
AVD: Ok, how’d we lose it?
TR: Oh, it wasn’t easy. And quite frankly, I’m not the one who needs to answer that question. It’s up to you guys to figure out.
AVD: So are you saying your time was better than ours?
TR: Son, are you listenin’ to me? Hell no it wasn’t better. You have damn Jacuzzi tubs; I would of killed for a little spa action after climbing that San Juan Hill. My quads hurt like a mother f--.
AVD: So it’s about attitude?
TR: Yeah, I guess. But it runs deeper than that. It’s in the heart, not the head and it has to permeate everything you do. Whether it’s raising an army or a child, you have to focus on making things better, not the same or heaven forbid, worse. Stop tearing things down without plans to improve what you had. Don’t let hatred and bigotry get in the way of your dreams. And for gosh sakes, stop electing folks to office who don’t understand their responsibility to the future.
AVD: And speak softly but carry a big stick?
AVD: Would you make a good President today?
TR: Awe hell, I don’t know. If there were cameras everywhere and this whole Twitter thing, I might be run out office quicker than a Rough Rider can down a beer.
AVD: You know your greatest legacy still lives on, our national parks. Millions of people visit each year. If you hadn’t set aside that land, who knows what it would be like today.
TR: Thank you son, I am very proud of that. And that does give me reason to believe.
AVD: In what?
TR: In people. Taking care of what God gave us is a holy cause. As long as people understand that, there’s still a chance.
AVD: A chance?
TR: Yes, son. A chance to make your country, your world better than it is today. But you cain’t wait. When hope dies, it takes years to restore.
AVD: Thank you Mr. President.
TR: Awe, you can call me Teddie.