When I Was Seven, I Outlined My Stump Speech for President.

It was an assignment for Mrs. Parker’s second grade class.

Aldric 2–22–2000 (Sixteen years ago!)

If I was President, I would:

  1. Make good laws to keep our country safe.
  2. If some schools don’t have that much supplies and money, I would use some of my money to buy it and give it to the class that wanted it.
  3. I would give poor people and poor schools between 50 and 100 dollars.
  4. I would make [TV] shows for children that is about 30 minutes and make it educational but fun. And, I would make it [famous].
  5. I would stick a small camera in a very nice picture. I would send it by mail [and] let the letter say: Dear person, I am the president of the United states. This is a gift for you.

Some questions about presidents:

  1. How old do you have to be to be president?
  2. Why do we need presidents?

Thoughts —

  • My key issues - National security, education, poverty, entertainment (?), and I think that last one is a campaign mailing.
  • What does “stick a small camera in a very nice picture” mean? Like, a spy camera? Like, national surveillance?
  • Central to my agenda was making sure that classrooms are supportive environments. Was this an issue I truly thought was important? or was it because we were sitting in a classroom and classroom success was my first idea? — Would it have been different if I wrote it in the middle of a field or on a beach?
  • I thought it was cute how I thought 50–100 dollars for “poor people and poor schools” was a lot of money and would solve poverty. Optimism!
  • (~46.7 million US Americans in poverty + 56,000 Title I schools) × $100 = $4,675,600,000. Lot of money. But for context, that’s 177 times less than the 2009 stimulus plan. Just sayin’.
  • The rest of my journal was full of how much I love animals, trees, dinosaurs, and celestial bodies. And yet, science and the environment are missing from my agenda. Why didn’t those passions make the cut?
  • Does this exercise show what I thought I would do as President, or does this reflect what I think Presidents ought to do, based on what I’ve noticed past Presidents have done?
  • What is a President to a child?

In the spirit of 2016, I would love to hear your responses to Mrs. Parker’s writing prompt:

What are five things you’d want to do as President of the United States?

Bonus: I also saved the National Portrait Gallery the trouble of commissioning a painting. (You’re welcome.) Behold.

Bonus bonus: Somewhat relevant —

a.j.u.

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