Olivia R. Minnesota

This Letter Doesn't Matter

I'm not writing a letter for the future president of the United States, I'm writing a letter to get a grade for my writing class and to contribute to the falsified mission statement of this website.

My youth is escaping without giving me anything it owes me.

-Ivy Compton-Burnett

The next president of the United States of America--be it Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, or the guy who cleans out the frying pan at your local McDonald's--will not read this letter.  In fact, if you wrote a letter, they won't read yours either.  The mission of this website, despite it's title, is not to give youth a voice in Washington D.C.  No, when reading the mission statement, all letters2president.org claims to do is give young people a platform to share their political opinions.

In fact, after doing a little digging, I found that the National Writing Project, which hosts letters2president.org, is a federally funded writing program in the United States.  Interesting, considering that over $2,000 has been donated to a website which will be shut down in a couple of months.  Why does the website need $2,000 to host when, to be frank, isn't as large-scale as it claims to be.  According to this website, it costs up to $10,000 a year to host a website.  Let's go off the median number, $5,000, because this isn't a high-traffic website (and my estimate is very generous).  For three months of hosting, i.e. the three months until Inauguration Day, when the site shuts down, it will cost $1,666.66 to keep the website up.  Where are the other $400 dollars going?  Why do they need the National Writing Project to host them if they collected enough money to run this project independently?

Another, perhaps bigger, problem with the core of this website is that it says nowhere that the president will ever read these letters.  They're not going to send them to the president, they're not going to present them to the president before they get elected, this is just a public forum.  I will have no affect on the outcome on the election, it is likely that nobody will ever read you letter outside of you class, and they're all going to be deleted in three months.  This website appeals to the trusting nature of teachers and students to push their half-assed website.  If you, as a student or teacher, want to make a real change, send an email to the White House or send these letters the old fashioned way... over mail.  That, at least, presents the opportunity that the president could read these letters even though it isn't likely.  An one in a million chance is better than a zero chance any day.

So, in conclusion, I understand that students aren't choosing to use this website, so I'm leaving it up to the educators to do a greater amount of research and try to find an avenue where students will have an actual voice.  Because all this website is is a charade of change, and it won't help young people realize the change they could make in the world.

--Olivia R.

Special thanks to these websites, including letters2president.org for exposing themselves:

"What Is L2P 2.0?" About. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
@ryandonsullivan. "How Much Does a Website Cost in 2016? Let's Find Out!" WP Site Care. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
"Similar Groups." FlutterDash. N.p., n.d. Image. 18 Oct. 2016.

Benilde-St. Margaret's School

Non-Fiction Period 8

The epistolary efforts of the insightful, intelligent, and eloquent students of NFW8.

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