Dear future president,
I’m tired of American exceptionalism– of glorifying our leaders as something more than human. I want a president who is honest– simple as that. I want a president who doesn’t present themselves as super-human, but manages to embody the qualities a leader (or any person) should: empathy, candor, justice, compassion.
A politician who attempts perfection will be an incredible disappointment when their flaws surface. Be representative, but not patronizing. Live our struggles next to us, but use your authority and influence to prevent them in the future. Admit our nation’s mistakes, and vow not to repeat them. Stop leaving blanks in our history textbooks where the names of the slaves and Native Americans should be; we built this nation on their backs. Let it be okay to be queer, transgender, an ethnic minority, a female, gender non-binary, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. Fight back with grace and resilience, and don’t back down.
You must promote acceptance, not just tolerance. Be a role model to my peers and me, both in policy and in character.
Harvard-Westlake High School
Studio City, Calif.