As you head out to the polls, think about the next generation of young people and the future you will decide for them. Or, as an alternative, read Writing Our Future: Letters to the Next President, a new website sponsored by the National Writing Project and Google and featuring letters written online by more than 4,900 students ages 13 through 18, representing 185 schools around the country.
The National Writing Project is the nation’s largest professional development network for the teaching of writing. The NWP believes writing is a cornerstone of civic engagement for people of all ages. Hallelujah!
Here is what Maria M. of New York writes on the site:
Mr. President ,do you know how many of our soldiers have died in this stupid war? Do you know how many kids have lost a family member who they really loved? Another thing is that we can’t just leave Iraq alone to rebuild their country their because its all our fault their country is like it is, after we finish rebuilding Iraq we should just leave them alone and learn to mind our own business. We should use those 9 billion dollars a month we use in war for better stuff, like health care for everyone. We should also use this money to rebuild our schools and make them better for us and future generations…The country is not doing anything to help its people and you know there’s a large amount of people who are homeless and sleep on the streets because they are waiting to be placed in a shelter. Tell me who is going to help all these people?
Or this, from Ashton H. of Nebraska:
I know as the new president you have a lot on your plate, but if you read just one of the thousands of letters you get each day, it might help you realize what’s important to the younger age group of the United States. The scariest thing to me in the world is the lack of my safety. Every morning, I watch the television while I eat breakfast, and every morning, a new crime has been committed. It usually consists of a murder or robbery. And I’m beginning to realize that crimes don’t only happen in just the big cities. I feel scared when I’m walking at night or in a shopping mall during the day. I’ve heard of rape and shootings in each of those settings, and each in Nebraska. I want myself, my friends, and my family to feel safe. I don’t want to raise my children in a crime-infested nation.
Big issues are tackled by these young writers, including abortion, immigration, the economy, gay marriage and gay rights, and global warming.
Finally, here’s what James G. of New Jersey wants to ask the new president:
Look over there at the corner, where the boy sells drugs. He doesn’t sell them because he wants to but because he feels he has to. It is all he knows in order to help his family. What about the girl who is finishing her fourth year in college and works endless hours to pay off her student loans? Or the single mom who gives her two children all she has, but her all just isn’t good enough because she’s just been laid off? These are everyday problems that are present in our country — can you help? Can you give something to those who have nothing? Can you improve our economy and take stress and heartache away rather than add to it? Our president must be able to relate, a person with a common background and experience dealing with the problems of today. Our president needs to strive for an end to war, not for a continuance. These are all things that need to be addressed, are you up to the challenge?
Let’s hope the new president spends his first 30 days in office reading these letters. He could learn something.