I've always known my father was an important man. He is, after all, the president of the United States. But the other day, as I was running around on the playground, a thought suddenly occurred to me, a horrible realization that stopped me dead in my tracks: There are people out there who want to kill my dad. My dad. The man who is raising me, who asks me how school is every day, who takes me to soccer games and reads me stories when I can't fall asleep at night. People want to murder him. They want to murder my father.
Doesn't really get more fucked up than that, now, does it?
When we first moved into the White House I was only 7 years old, too young to know that people wanted my dad dead. And I'll tell you what, I was a lot happier then. Now that I'm a little older, though, it's all becoming pretty clear. There aren't just four or five people who want my dad dead. Tons of people want to murder him. Tons. People in this country, people in other countries. The bottom line—and this is the cold, hard reality that I now fully understand—is that every second of every day, people are thinking of ways to kill the person I love and admire more than anyone in the world.
Meanwhile, no one is plotting the murder of, say, my friend Amanda's dad. He's a computer technician. No one is trying to assassinate a computer technician. At no point in Amanda's day will she experience a rush of crippling panic due to the fact that, at any moment, a psycho wielding a semiautomatic weapon could step out of the shadows and unload an entire clip into her father's chest, killing him right on the spot.
That's just true. You can try to comfort me all you want, but you know damn well that's just a fact.
Here's another awful thing I've finally started to understand: The chances of somebody killing my father are so high that there is an entire force of men and women whose singular responsibility is to prevent that from happening. These people are specially trained. They create intricate plans specifically designed to protect my father, because no matter where he goes, somebody in the area probably wants to kill him. And look, I'm not some naïve little girl anymore. I can get on the Internet. I can research American presidents. I know damn well the Secret Service doesn't always succeed. Ronald Reagan almost died, and he had a daughter just like me.
Also, I know exactly who John F. Kennedy is now. And I know exactly what happened to him.
So, as this was all starting to sink in—and I was pretty shocked, as you can probably imagine—it occurred to me that I have my own Secret Service detail, which means there are also people who want me dead. They want me, an 11-year-old little girl, dead. Same goes for my mom and big sister. I mean, shit, they want to kill my whole family.
And you want to know what the worst part is? I have no idea where my dad is right now. I haven’t seen him all day. For all I know, he could be waving to a crowd of supporters at this very moment while some guy on a rooftop 2,000 feet away has his head in the scope of a high-powered rifle, just waiting for the perfect moment to splatter his brains all over the stage.
Put yourself in my shoes for a second. Imagine you’re standing next to your dad, holding his hand and smiling, when all of a sudden a bullet pierces through his skull and drenches your sundress in blood.
Seriously, do you have any idea how messed up that is?
And I’m not operating under the misconception that all these people are going to get caught someday or just eventually give up. The most depressing thing is this will be going on for the rest of my life. Twenty years from now, when I’m living far away and have kids of my own, I could get a call from my mom with the news that Dad is dead. That he was blown to bits by a bomb in his car, and that they just barely found enough charred remains to identify the body.
Well, great. I'm glad I finally figured all that out. Here's to a wonderful life, Sasha. I guess I'll just go outside now and play without a goddamn care in the whole fucked-up world.