I Don’t Dream of Being President Anymore

The last thing on your mind following the events of the past week would be the opinions of teenagers. Let me give you some insight anyway. Yesterday, I was a freshman in high school. Now, I am a cynic of American democracy. This week’s coup at the capitol was far too symbolic. A year that should have been full of promise was bogged down by lies and mistrust. Now, it represents something else—faith lost by an entire generation.

Growing up, one of the most popular jobs children wanted was to become president and serve your country. That dream has been rapidly fading for many in my generation. When politicians speak, people react. That’s how a ceremonial certification process turned into a police standoff. It doesn’t take a historian to tell you this is wrong. The image is searing—a breached rioter sitting on the marble dais where Vice President Pence had been seated not long before, under the words E PLURIBUS UNUM.

The job of political leaders isn’t just to make laws, say. It’s also to teach future generations the values, significance, and even the process of democracy. When my generation sees the chaos, mistrust, and outright hate that both sides have against one another, we start questioning those fundamental promises. When I see friends and families torn apart by political views, its machinery looks more like a weapon to destroy rather than a tool to build. We have become numb to polarizing messages, even repeating them as our own. This isn’t the America that I want to live in. Sadly, it’s the one that I’ve grown up with. 

My parents both came to America from Taiwan. They can never run for the office of the president, but I could. And I wanted to. I wanted to achieve the American dream. Now, I am unsure. At this moment, my American dream is reduced to a simple hope. I wish for politicians to set aside differences and choose unity. Not the “unity” that you preach in campaign ads, but actual unity that heals rather than divides. Unity that inspires and creates love. Without it, you are leaving your children an America that will slowly cease to function, gradually losing its power to inspire its young, let alone the world.

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4 thoughts on “I Don’t Dream of Being President Anymore”

  1. The line that stirred me the most was at the end: “…gradually losing its power to inspire its young….” As a teacher and parent, that line digs deep and acts as a convincing punchline to demonstrate the gravity of the situation.

  2. I am a retired English and creative writing teacher who taught at Schurz High School in Chicago. I envy your English teacher for having such a wise and talented writer in the freshman class.

    If you allow the turkeys in Washington to get you down, then they win! Your hopes of becoming President someday may have been battered, but what you aren’t aware of is how much hope you have kindled in everyone who read your article here and in the Tribune.

    I hope you represent a generation who will learn from the horrors of the last four years. There are so many dreams ahead of you: State Senator, Mayor, Congressman, lawyer, educator! At your tender age you already know so much more than most politicians, Republican or Democrat!

    And yes, President of the United States should not be off the table. Our country would be so lucky to have a leader like you. But first, how about Valedictorian of your class in three years?

    Again, my compliments to your English teacher; he/she is so lucky to have you in their class. And, finally to your parents who have raised such an extraordinary son!


    You wrote about something I feared would happen in the aftermath of Wednesday’s American tragedy, that good people who once considered running for office wouldn’t think of it now. However, you are exactly the kind of person this country needs in its future. Honor your parents-immigrants are the backbone of this country and they produce people who do great things. Instead of giving up, think of ways you can better the situation. If you are not already involved in student government, think about starting there. You may also consider volunteering in a political campaign for someone you believe will live up to the ideals you have. They are out there. Just don’t give up and let discouragement waste the talent you have.

  4. This article should be read by every senator and representative in the federal government and the Illinois state government. This young man has been taught more value by his parents and teachers than many leaders in Congress with their degrees from high-ranking universities. What this young man wrote is what most Americans want. Wouldn’t s it be a great country if our leaders believe the same thing? God bleed this young man and our country.

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