Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on being elected as the leader of the United States of America. You are now the most powerful man in the world, and with that power comes much responsibility. You truly do have the ability to do good things if you choose.

My name is Alex Strang. I am from Dexter, Michigan, a small town seven miles outside of Ann Arbor. I have moderate conservative views, but I try to remain unbiased. I think for myself and believe that it’s best to not let a political party influence my views. I am only an 18-year old senior in high school, and nowhere near an expert on politics.

Your focus on national security will benefit Americans by making this country safer. The safety of every American citizen is important no matter race or gender. I support you to continue to improve the national security of this country, just as President Obama did. I come from a law enforcement and military family, so I agree with your strong support of them. At a time like this, it is important that the public and law enforcement work together to create healthier relationships. I believe people need to realize the police are not bad the guys and they are just doing their job.

Your “America First” ideology has the potential to benefit our country with trade deals and a foreign policy that puts our country first.

But, Mr. President, a true “America First” policy means protecting all Americans, especially at a time like this where millions feel threatened, specifically women. They are equally as important as the men in this country. This is the United States of America, not the Middle East.

You say you want to eliminate ISIS, which I am all for, but by attempting to take away a woman’s reproductive rights, aren’t we beginning to stoop to their level? A level where schools are blown up to scare women from attending them to get an education equal to men. A level where people are killed to keep women from voting.

We are better than that. This country does not follow Sharia Law. In this country, women are recognized as just as faithful and intelligent as males, constitutionally they share equal rights with males, every girl goes to school here. This is not the case in every country. So, why threaten their rights when those rights in question do not have any effect on you or any other male politician?

A true America First policy means standing up for women, supporting their rights, and protecting them, not putting them down or trying to take away their reproductive rights. If you or other people are pro-life, then I respect that. I also respect the woman’s decision to make that choice herself. As a man, I cannot make that choice, nor should any male politician regardless of government position or political affiliation. You, and others with the same belief, can exercise that belief simply by not having an abortion.

Today in America, a woman can serve in most jobs in the military, while in the Middle East, they are put down, beaten, and sexually assaulted with no punishment for the men who commit these acts. These are the same countries where we send American troops. We cannot stoop to this level especially with how far we have come in this nation. A nation where a woman has equal say in elections, government positions, and marriage, as she should.

Women in this country are afraid. That should not be a problem. Ever. No matter what. Every American citizen should be proud to call the United States home, just as I am. They should not have to worry about already established rights being taken away because of an administration’s beliefs.

I know the media takes many things out of context and blows things out of proportion, but this is not something that is being made up by the media. Threatening to defund Planned Parenthood or attempting to take away a woman’s right to have a child is threatening the rights of a woman.

Mr. President, if an “America First” policy means stricter border control, then it also has to mean stricter environmental regulations. Why regulate our borders when the environment all around us is changing for the worse? No matter what political party you associate with, you have to recognize climate change is real.

We cannot afford to hurt this earth anymore. Just like all of our American citizens, we have to protect and stand up for planet earth. Further destroying the earth for monetary gain may seem worth it for big businesses on the short term level, but those CEOs and executives who want fewer EPA restrictions will one day have children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who have to live in a world where the climate is worsened because of their greed.

When I graduate from college, I want to one day serve my country and lead soldiers in the Army for this nation. I am willing to serve this country with everything I have and protect the freedoms that have been set forth by our founding fathers. What I do not want to see is our country fall apart due to a division of race, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.

I do not want my future wife to be worrying about attempts to revoke a right that was ruled constitutional in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. I do not want my future wife to feel put down by the words and actions of the President. I don’t want her to feel threatened by a man or a congress whom she has never met, the same way I don’t want her to feel threatened by terrorists or criminals. I don’t want my future daughter to feel as though her rights are threatened. I want my future kids to be able to play outside in air that is fresh and free of pollution. I want my future family to be able to experience the activities of all four seasons from skiing in the winter to swimming in clean water in the summer.

If we are going to have a true “America First” policy, we need to be committed, not just part way, not just the parts that one political party wants, but fully committed. That includes protecting women’s rights and protecting this planet we call home.

You will not see me in the streets protesting, but if so many people feel threatened that they need to take such a strong stance, then something needs to change. Nor will you hear me saying “not my president,” because I understand, Sir, you are the President. You are the Commander’ n Chief of the free world.

You have the power to do many things. This country needs more than ever to come together, which will take effort and compromise from all political parties and people from all walks of life.

All Americans, every single one, need to come together to truly make a country that is currently more divided than ever, “Great Again,” and it begins with you, Mr. President.

Let’s begin the process of uniting this country, and truly putting all Americans first before yourself.

Respectfully,

Alexander Strang

Previewing a Trump Presidency

President-elect Donald Trump’s policies lack attention towards one of the most important issues: the environment

By Megan Sarns

In the words of Hillary Clinton, “…whoever wins this election, the outcome will be historic. We’ll either have the first female president or the first president who started a Twitter war with Cher.”

As of November 8, 2016, America voted to elect the latter.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know Trump has, to put it kindly, some pretty radical ideas for how he wants to run the country. Many of these are highlighted on the “issues” page on his website.

This page consists of a series of videos you can watch where Trump sits in front of a generic background and yells at you for about a minute, saying everything from “being politically correct just takes too much time” and “we have a border that’s like a piece of swiss cheese.”

I watched every single one of these videos as well every section under his website’s “policies” page and something struck me. It wasn’t necessarily what Trump said he plans to do. I’ve been appalled by that long before I sat down to write this article. It was rather what he plans not to do and what he fails to prioritize.

Nowhere on Donald Trump’s website does he talk about the environment.

Looking beyond his website, it turns out Trump has talked  about his plans for the environment, albeit not in a good way.

Trump has spoken out against the Paris Agreement and says he plans to “cancel” it. The Paris Agreement, ratified in October 2016, requires countries to decrease greenhouse gas emissions with a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature as controlled as possible.

In addition, Trump also plans to cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency that devotes its resources to “[protecting Americans] from significant risk to human health and the environment.”

Some sources, such as ClimateWire, have said that he has reportedly chosen a leader for his EPA transition team: Myron Ebell. The first sentence on Ebell’s Wikipedia page is “Myron Ebell is an American global warming skeptic.”

To clarify, that means the person Trump’s wants to put in charge of environmental concerns doesn’t even believe they’re happening.

On October 31, Trump made clear his position on this issue when he spoke at a rally in Warren, Michigan.

“We’re going to put America first,” he said. “That includes canceling billions in climate change spending for the United Nations…and instead use that money to provide for American infrastructure including clean water, clean air, and safety.”

Sure, “clean water, clean air, and safety” sounds great, but the context behind these cuts is disturbing. At the end of the day, it won’t matter if America is first, second, or even last, if Earth becomes unlivable.

We have elected into presidential office a man who disregards all scientific evidence of climate change and instead claimed that it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” in a tweet he made in 2012.

The fact that our planet is at risk has become a controversial political statement is appalling. We cannot afford four years of a president who refuses to acknowledge the problem, let alone take steps toward solving it.