Dear Future President,
For some reason, there is a prevalent idea in our country that politics and emotions should be separate. I do not understand this way of thinking. If we separate our emotions from the changes we make in the world, I believe that we run the risk of making decisions that are not fully informed (even if we have all the “facts”). Our initial desire to change something is usually fueled by an emotion, whether it’s hope, anger, fear or love. So why would we argue that you should stop feeling all of a sudden, when you become president? I hope you will be the leader in this revolution and, as president, do what your heart tells you to do.
I want to challenge you to think about the difficult issues we face through this lens of your emotions. Next time you see a photo of hundreds of refugees crowded into a dinghy – risking their lives for the possibility of a better future – ask yourself what you feel. I imagine you might feel something along the lines of helplessness combined with empathy. Let that drive the changes you initiate and the laws you institute. Make a change in the world to help these refugees so that you no longer feel that helplessness.
Take climate change as another example. What do you feel when you think that your descendants will likely not have a clean, safe place to live? Does that make you feel scared? Then act from that emotion! Act on that fear, and the changes you make will undoubtedly make a difference.
When you hear about the children in our country’s cities who have to drop out of high school to earn money for their families, do you feel sad for them? I would encourage you to work to mitigate this issue because of what you feel about it. In doing so, you will make a huge difference in the lives of so many others.
Please take some time to consider this idea of letting your emotions guide your decisions. Even if you decide that you must balance it with other ways of analyzing challenging issues, your emotions need not be completely absent from your decision making. I know that this sounds cliché, but you have the power to change the world. You literally do. As the President of the United States of America, you are arguably the most powerful person on the planet. Use that power wisely, and please remember to feel empathy for others as you do. Your power can easily cause more harm than good, but I am hopeful that you will use it to do more good than harm.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and consider my thoughts.