Letters to the President, No. 1
"The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Letters to the President" will be an ongoing project in which I will regularly write to President Donald Trump. Each letter will be sent in hardcopy to the White House, and subsequently published on Arbitror. Once published, I will share the letter on various social media platforms, including in the post itself with President Trump’s various handles and links.
February 8, 2017
Dear President Trump,
My name is Hannah Luzadder. I'm a 22-year-old Paralegal who lives in Portland, Oregon. I am originally from Denver, and last year I graduated from Lewis & Clark College. Now, in addition to working full-time, I'm a contributing writer at Arbitror, a publication run by young leaders dedicated to keeping leading world governments accountable. I hope to soon attend either law school or graduate school for international studies. My dream is to build a career that allows me to positively influence our world through the study of international relations, globalization, and the nature and theories of international system development.
I am writing because I would like to start a dialogue with you—a conversation —for the purpose of requesting your guidance. I am seeking your counsel so that I may participate in our democracy by learning how to contribute to what you have said we all need to do: work together and make America great again. This is my first letter of several to come, for if we are going to work together then we have many things we need to discuss.
My upbringing has given me a tendency to be left-leaning in my political ideologies. Despite that, I have not been able to find a political party that I can completely trust to serve my needs and represent my interests. You and I, though we come from different sides of the spectrum, have a common goal. What I want is change—just like you and a great many of your supporters—despite the differences in our respective expectations for what the journey toward this goal should look like. Please keep in mind that it is this commonality that has moved me to reach out to you; not our differences.
There were times during the election when I was strongly tempted to not vote out of frustration stemming from what I perceived to be a lack of representation. However, I could see that to abstain from exercising my right to vote would be to forfeit my ability to influence the changes I seek to make in the system I feel is failing me. This system is the only system in which I live, and I have neither the means nor desire to abandon it. After taking some time to reflect upon the many factors that inform my interests, I was able to determine that the kind of changes I want to see require an abrupt and significant shift in the status quo. At that point, it became suddenly clear that between the two candidates I had to choose from, one had a firm footing in that status quo, and the other was you.
Though you were unable to win my vote for reasons we can discuss later, I remained acutely aware that you were the candidate most likely to bring about an abrupt and significant change. Therefore it is worth noting, having come to these conclusions, that the actions I took despite my own interests reflected an internal conflict in which I both fiercely desire and deeply fear that change.
On Election Day, after the votes had been counted and the results were announced, I felt I had been blindsided by the enormous chasm between my countrymen that was suddenly brought to light. It shocked me that I had been so blissfully unaware of, or perhaps protected from, the forming of such a pronounced schism among us. Though in retrospect, I suppose if I can identify the such a divide within myself, I should not be so surprised that my country as a whole is facing its own internal division. The severity of this split has caused me great concern. Because, as you may agree, we face plenty of challenges both within and beyond our borders that require the strength of unity if we hope to face them effectively.
I am not special. As I recall teachers saying throughout my educational experience: “If you have a question, then ask it. Other students in the class most likely have the same question, whether they know it or not.” Our nation is much bigger and more nuanced than the classroom, so the chances that others are having similar experiences and have similar questions to mine is more likely now than ever before.
Thus, I would like to call upon you, as my President and Commander-in-Chief, to help me and my peers understand the nature of our country's political divide and move beyond the estrangement from the system we have struggled with. Provide guidance to those of us on the other side of the divide. What we can do to make working together effective so that we may have a fighting chance at truly making America great again? I am offering you this letter as a way to formally communicate with myself, my peers, and my community directly as individual constituents of the electorate. Tell me, what do I need to do? How can I reach across the aisle?
Thank you for your assistance in this endeavor, Mr. President. I look forward to your response.
Hannah M. Luzadder
The views reflected in this piece do not reflect the views of other Arbitror contributors or of Arbitror itself.
Photo: Taken the afternoon of February 8th, 2017, outside of the U.S. District Court building in Portland, Oregon, shortly before the letter was postmarked.