Dear President Trump
I often strive to put myself in other people’s shoes, as I feel that that is one of the best ways to understand people’s perspectives. I don’t know if I will ever fully grasp what it’s like to be the President of the United States, but by trying to put myself in your position, I think I have some sort of idea. I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself, Mr. Trump. I am a 17-year-old girl going into my senior year in high school. My family and I identify as liberals, which has shaped my outlook on life in many ways. My biological father was an immigrant who came to America only to be deported back to Colombia when I was around 8 years old. Another key fact about me: This past year I took a course titled “AP Environmental Science.” Both these developments played a crucial role in the way I view the world around me as well as what I believe in. They are the topics that I want to talk to you about today. By the end of this letter, I hope I have left you with some things to think about and consider. Speaking from personal experience, it is very difficult to change the views of people so opposite from you, but my goal is to spark conversation within your administration.
While I feel that my parents and hometown of Los Angeles have both played a crucial role in my becoming of a liberal, ultimately, I think the greatest influence came within. I am fortunate enough to go to a school with an incredibly diverse group of people not only in racial makeup but in beliefs and value sets as well. I have engaged in conversations with my peers and teachers where we have discussed the pressing issues facing our community and country, which has enabled me to gain a deeper understanding and insight into different perspectives. Perhaps if you engaged with people of different beliefs than you, you might have a similar experience, Mr. Trump. Going off the fact that I am a liberal, I am a huge advocate for equality. I support the Women’s March, the Black Lives Matter Movement, Pride Month; you name it. That being said, my best friend is openly gay, and I have been there to support him every step of the way because I truly believe everyone deserves equality. When talking to my gay best friend about the different actions you and your administration have subtly taken so far in your presidency against the LGBT community, he was not only shocked but horrified as well:
“It was so reassuring to have President Barack Obama in our corner. I mean he fought for our rights and gave us equal marriage. That’s so important. Trump chose Mike Pence to be his Vice-President, someone who completely supports conversion therapy. If he and his administration have already executed these actions against me and others alike, who knows what will happen to our rights in the coming years. I’m scared.” -Nick Longhurst (Student)
We are a nation that encourages diversity in many different forms, and no one should feel isolated or scared. The LGBT community plays a key role in the makeup of America, and members of this community should be accepted for who they are. I hope with the coming years in your presidency, you will promote this growth and acceptance instead of going back and reversing the progress made during President Barack Obama’s presidency.
As I mentioned previously, my biological father was an immigrant who came to America with the hopes of “making it big” and living out the “American Dream.” He fell in love with my mother and started a life and then came me. Unfortunately, I only knew him for a short while and have not seen him in nearly a decade since he was deported. Have you ever lost someone so dear to you? I have carried that pain with me for years and always will. But through this experience, I have developed a strong opinion on the matter of immigration and have grown stronger from it. I think you need to realize how much your words have an impact. You are the face of our great nation, though, you play into the stereotypes of different races. Calling Mexicans “drug-dealers” and “rapists” has only let the people around me think that it is okay to say derogatory comments about others because you, our President, condones it. I have personally been a victim of foul words spoken against my father and his heritage saying he must have been a drug-dealer or drug-addict because he was Colombian. While talking to Lauren Gaudite in Grand Central Park, she expressed her fear for her father who is an immigrant and believes you are singling people out with your immigration policies rooted in racism. I ask you to please consider how much your words can cause harm, and I ask you to accept the fact that America would not be the country it is without immigrants.
This past year, I took a course titled “AP Environmental Science.” That class has hands down made an impact on my life. I learned all about our environment and its resources through numerous projects and labs, and I essentially became an “expert” on oil and natural gas. I learned that our great planet is in peril that it is burning up from man-made climate change through my APES teacher Ms. Fay who is a huge advocate for saving the planet:
“This earth and its resources are so important, and it is no lie that we are destroying it. I’m an environmental science student with the hopes of educating my friends and those around me about what has happened and what we can do to preserve this planet. The fact that the President of the United States thinks climate-change is a hoax is appalling. It’s hard to be optimistic in these times.” -Gabi Martinez (Student)
As doom and gloom as that sounds, I also learned that we have the ability to slow down and even control global warming, but just as it is a global problem, it requires a global community to band together and create positive change. We were part of that change through the Paris Climate Accord. Even North Korea committed to this agreement, as a matter of fact. The only countries that didn’t were Nicquarga and Syria, and in Nicaragua’s case, that was because they did not feel it was strong enough! You came in and pulled us out, without even a discussion or debate and against the wishes of many in your own party. You see, Mr. Trump, even most Republicans accept and fear man-made climate change. But you didn’t stop there. You pledged to bring back coal, a dying, dirty form of fossil fuel. Not even the coal miners are for coal. They are for jobs, but they want to protect this earth for their children and grandchildren, something you don’t seem interested in at all. In fact, in a recent United Shades of America episode on CNN, coal miners said they would much rather be trained in renewables or other industries than having to revert back to coal, so long as they had jobs. Why not train them and put them to work harnessing wind and solar power? What could possibly be the downside, Mr. Trump? Why not listen to the dissension around you, even from your own party? You just might learn something new and unexpected. It is okay to change your mind on a particular stance as you learn more facts. This is an excellent opportunity to show the American people that you would rather reverse course and get it right than dig in your heels and get it wrong.
Mr. Trump, I congratulate you on your historic win in this presidential race. I have learned throughout my years in high school that it is important to be the bigger person, something I hope you learn soon as well. While I do not agree with the majority of what you and your administration says and does, I truly hope you succeed because if you do, hopefully, this country will too. I only want what is best for those around me, and that can only happen if you have a similar mindset. I hope that this letter has opened your eyes to those different than you and that you take into consideration that everyone deserves equality and respect, your words matter, and the environment is one of the most important things we need to care about and preserve. Thank you for your time.