Friends & Colleagues

Over the past few weeks, there has been an exceptional demand on my time imposed by a summons that I received from the Census Bureau. It informed me that as a native born United States citizen over the age of 35, I was officially obliged to serve my country by either 1) acting as juror in the Travis County Traffic Court, or 2) running for President. I chose the latter as more fun and less time-consuming.

Setting up an ‘exploratory committee’ has proven unexpectedly onerous since most experienced trail guides already have signed on with other candidates. Then there is the matter of a campaign slogan. “A Frappuccino in every cup” appealed to me but then I discovered that the copyright belong to Howard Schultz. I thought of catchy alternatives: “A Transgender On Every Committee” or ‘Break The Glass Ceiling NOW!” Somehow, though, they lacked the punch to stir voters – nothing like “Change You Can Believe In.” (Obama really had a way with words). Still, I felt the urge to persevere – encouraged by a look at the competition. At least I know better than did the Senator from Newark, New Jersey who responded to a question from a Swiss newspaper reporter with a few words in Puerto Rican dialect.  Swiss-Americans may be a thin base, yet a base to build on nonetheless.

 In the end, though, I abandoned this fanciful project of self-reinvention. The final straw was CNN’s rejection of my appeal for them to organize a Town Hall Meeting where I could introduce myself to America. So the idea now is relegated to the dustbin of blasted dreams. In compensation for this dereliction, I have chosen to render service by inscribing Ten Commandments for those brave enough to enter the ring.


Michael Brenner



  1. I am the Constitution, who brought you out of bondage to King George III. You shall have no other serments before ME
  2. You shall not make yourself a craven American image composed of Bigotry and Fear
  3. Honor Peace & Tranquility by refraining from announcing your candidacy before the first day of the election year
  4. You shall not take the name of the Constitution in vain by swearing that your sole reason for seeking the Presidency is love of America
  5. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall campaign, on the seventh day you shall maintain silence under Heaven and devote yourself to reflection
  6. You shall not murder the American language by speaking in sound bites
  7. You shall not commit adultery by consorting with enemies of your constituents
  8. You shall not steal the nomination by scheduling any of the first 5 primaries in a state that does not host a major league sports franchise.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your opponents by slander or willful misrepresentation
  10. You shall not covet your opponent’s donors; nor his/her emails; nor his/her speech writers; nor his/her cosmetic surgery, nor his/her Oxbridge degree, nor his/her intern’s ass”



  • All “try-outs” before billionaires must be video-taped and made public
  • Reveal at least one ‘skeleton’ in your closet before the IOWA caucuses
  • Pledge to forsake golf as a pastime – except if played at a public course on Saturday morning
  • Ban all reference to immediate family except as a warning to voters of their constituting a potential distraction/disruption in the conduct of public business
  • Explain the bipartisan consensus on the regular practice of stripping the Social Security Trust fund of its surpluses to cover current imbalances in the general budget
  • Explain how you would ensure that troops in combat have access to gluten-free meals
  • Pledge to reject all salutation as “Mr. President” and replace it with “Sir”
  • Eliminate anyone who makes a big deal of being the first member of some demographic group sniffing at the door of the Oval Office
  • Agree that all debates be scheduled at times when the strongest TV competition is reruns of “Lassie Finds A Home”


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