Letter to the Future President

 

Dear America,

On the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 in Fresno, California we took our eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, to the polls to vote with us. This was her third Presidential election, but I’m not sure there’s ever been more at stake for her. My hands began to shake from some unexpected panic, as if my body was registering the tremors of the coming divide. My daughter stood there, watching as a diverse room-full of people cast their votes and expressed their vision for the future of our country. A couple of hours later, her 3rd grade teacher asked the students in Sophie’s class to pen letters to the future president, whoever they thought that might be. What follows, then is my daughter’s “letter to America”:

Nov. 8, 2016
Election Day!

Dear Future President,

Congrats on being elected president! This is probably going to be a great experience (hopefully). I’m writing this to tell you my opinions of how we could change the USA.

Here are the things I believe are important to change in the next 4 years!

My Platforms:

  1. Global warming
  2. Equality for every race, sex, and religion
  3. Education
  4. Gun Control
  5. Better cafeteria food
  6. Less abusing animals
  7. Save water
  8. Free college for all
  9. Love everyone (all races, all genders, and all religions)
  10. Less misogyny
  11. Homeless shelters
  12. Less (no) student debt
  13. Free Health (the Affordable Care Act)
  14. A fair world
  15. Better housing
  16. Help children get food
  17. Help everyone have food
  18. Helps us have a safe world
  19. No WARS!
  20. Nobody should be discriminated against
  21. Lower taxes
  22. Treat other countries with respect

Kids need healthier things in cafeterias, because they can’t afford to pay for home lunches, they should be able to have healthier food.

Soldiers are working hard in the war, and some of them die every day, we need to appreciate them for what they do, and we should stop war now and have peace on earth, and keep everyone alive!

Thank you, President!

These are the things I feel very strongly about in our country.

Sincerely,

Sophie Church
Age 8, Fresno, California

I guess if I could say anything to America right now, perhaps I would just tell you to listen to our children. They have things to say. I saw a statistic somewhere, backed up by anecdotal evidence from my daughter, that if children were allowed to vote in the election, Hillary Clinton would have won in a landslide. When I asked Sophie why her classmates didn’t like Trump, the general consensus was, “He’s a bully.” But it’s more than that, of course. She knows, on some level, that you, America, voted that day to affirm centuries of sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and oppression. You elected to continue marginalizing her. And she won’t forget that. What I see in my daughter—this fierce, smart, and driven young woman–and in her classmates is a kind of imaginative optimism and uncorrupted hope for a better world, an idealism I think we have to find a way to recapture and hold on to. We have to make art, put words on pages, and fight. But we have to remember to love each other, too and to keep the vision of a better world alive. We need to listen to the wisdom we have apparently lost, the wisdom of our youngers.

Sincerely,

Steven Church
Age 44, Fresno, California

 

 

Steven Church is the author of the newly released One With the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters Between Humans and Animals and four other books of nonfiction. He’s a founding editor and nonfiction editor for The Normal School, and he teaches in the MFA Program at Fresno State where he is the Hallowell Professor of Creative Writing.
 
Sophie Church lives and writes in Fresno, California. She’s been published previously in New Moon Girls.

Header photo of letter by Sophie Church.

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