Hello Mr. or Mrs. President, welcome to office. Our world today is tumultuous, and I have a request of you in your leadership of the American people. It’s simple, I want you to protect the well being of Americans. I ask of you that you read, not just look at, this personal narrative, that highlights my argument on the request above.
“I’m with her,” you say.
“She almost killed by dad,” I say.
“What?” you ask skeptically.
I tell you my story.
You put up a wall. “Okay,” you say.
“But I’m with her.”
Will you listen you my story, or will you just hear it?
A mob of Pakistanis gather around the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. They have anger in their hearts and images from a YouTube video of a burning Quran in their minds. They shout, they bang on the gates, they gather by the thousands. How dare those Americans disrespect their culture and religion like this?
Inside the building’s complex, personnel are gathering in the morning light. They are men and women who were ripped from their families to protect strangers back home, most of whom don’t appreciate their freedom. Amongst the group of uniformed heroes, a short and stocky, sandy haired man is working to help the situation. His baby face and smile lines speak to years of happy fatherhood. His arms, suited for gentle nurturing, are stiff with tension at his sides. Blue eyes, usually soft and full of love, are cold with focus and the presence of danger. His mouth, that so enjoys saying words like “bugaloo” and “tickle monster,” is a tight, firm line. He has a family: a wife and two daughters. The children are in eighth and twelfth grade, respectively. This man’s name is Mark Rose. He is the best father I have ever known, and I’m his daughter.
A decision is reached. They have to protect the ambassador to their dying breaths. They shuffle to the roof of the embassy. With ammo sufficient only to last five minutes, through the scope of his gun, Mark observes thousands of furious people gathered on the ground around him. He looks at the flat rooftop upon which he sits, and realizes if just one person threw a well-aimed Molotov cocktail, they would all be burned alive.
In tight voices, the small group discusses who will begin fighting with knives first. Mark is chosen to remain as a sniper for as long as possible, for he is the best shot, and has a call sign of “guns” to prove it. The others nervously grip the sweaty handles of their only protection from thousands of blood-thirsty individuals; they do their best to review information from basic training twenty years ago about knife fighting.
As each brave soul ponders the knowledge that if the mob attacks, they have to wait for permission from the white house before responding- they picture their families. With an aching heart, Mark imagines his. Their laughing faces and how it felt to hold them in his arms. I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again, he thinks with sincerity.
Hillary Clinton rests in a plush chair behind her oiled desk in the air-conditioned Secretary of State office. She pushes her glasses up higher on her powdered nose and narrows her eyes at the piece of paper in her hands. An urgent knock raps on the door. She sighs and puts the paper down in annoyance. “Come in.”
Fifteen minutes later she leans back in her chair, fingertips pressed together. “And you’re sure the mob won’t dissipate?”
A shiny-haired man in front of her nods. “There has been no response to our attempts to defuse the situation.” She is quiet, staring intently at the shag carpet.
“Alright.” She says suddenly. “We cannot send backup. Our relationship with Pakistan is too strained already.”
The man opens his mouth, and quickly shuts it. He clears his throat, adjusts his suit, and rises. “Yes Mrs. Clinton.”
Hillary relaxes into her chair at the clink of her door shutting. Good thing that didn’t take too long. Her dry fingers brush the tip of her paper as she resumes her work. In the back of her mind, her subconscious wonders what she’ll have for dinner.
Shouts increase in volume from the streets beneath the embassy. Every muscle in Mark’s body is gripped. Terror-induced, icy-focus fills him, his finger resting on the trigger of the only thing between him and death. All conversation on the roof has ceased. Sweat gathers on the back of his neck as sun beats into his skin. He closes his mind, trying to stop his thoughts from wandering home to the girls.
Someone in the crowd howls something in Arabic. The mob erupts into chaos. Noise presses on Mark’s ears and he hunkers down further. Bodies heave themselves against the gate as the crowd’s energy spills over. It’s time, Mark thinks. A shot splits the air.
I sit in the backseat of my mom’s minivan and stare out the window into the rain-filled sky. An ominous feeling deep in my gut twinges as I watch water drip down the cool glass. Dad couldn’t skype last night. The evening before that, he said things were getting heated. It’s not a huge deal, I tell myself, he has missed nights before. Grave thoughts plaguing my mind whisper what I know is the truth: that’s a lie. This is different. The last time we video chatted, the flat edge to his speech, the shadows behind his eyes, and the lack of life in his face, all told me more than his words ever could. Fear gathers in my heart. What would life be like without him? I imagine his lifeless body lying in a pool of blood, mangled and torn. My rocket buddy, my best friend, my dad- violently murdered.
I clap my hands over my mouth and squeeze my eyes shut as a chasm opens in my chest. Moisture gathers behind my eyelids. Dad, please be okay, I pray silently. I need you.
I remove my hand with a ragged gasp. I can feel in the car that Alyssa and mom are worried too. Usually so vibrant and full of life, Alyssa was quiet when we picked her up from high school.
I look to the turbulent sky, the desperation in my eyes a plea to Fate. I know I am not being a fool. This is real. This is every military family's worst nightmare. Dad, I love you.
In Islamabad, Pakistani police march into the crowd. Pops fill the air as they fire rubber bullets. Pepper spray is released and coats the street. Some people begin shouting in pain from being struck with the rubber. Others keel over, liquids coming from every orifice on their faces.
Mark allows himself a small breath. More police pour into the square and small gaps in the sea of bodies begin to appear.
Furious protesters, now recovered from their surprise, begin rising up again. The crowd swells. A wall of people, greatly outnumbering the police, forms. The yowling mass streaks towards the black-clad authorities.
With a spray of red, people crumple to the ground like marionette puppets whose strings were cut. Screams pierce the air. Bang, shout, cough, boom.
Mark closes his eyes, wincing at the heavy thuds of bodies slamming into the asphalt. He sits back behind the ridge on the roof, muscles relaxing. A collective sigh ripples through the group. Someone’s knife clatters to the ground. Mark opens his eyes and looks into the orange-streaked sky. I almost died today, he thinks.
Left to die by his own country; saved by the goodness of a foreign people.
“I’m with her,” you say.
“She almost killed my dad,” I say.
“What?” you ask skeptically.
I tell you my story.
I ask of you now, understand that every single decision you make will effect someone, even if that person is not you. In your job, complete and utter selflessness is a requirement. Empathy, can only serve to aide in your decision making. Whether it be global warming, second amendment rights, college debt, national debt, foreign policy, or anything in between- be vigilant. Your purpose is to better the lives of Americans. Don't leave soldiers to die when they need you the most. Don't pump billions of tons of pollution into the air and leave it to my generation to clean up after you. Don't do anything that harms the lives of your citizens. This is a chaotic time in history to be a human- our country needs you to guide us through these rocky waters. You, are the president of the United States of America. My future is in your hands. My sister's future is in your hands. My best friend's future is in your hands. The future of every single person in the country, is in your hands. Protect us.