Monday, July 16, 2007

Do you ever picture yourself in this situation?

For some reason you've been invited to the White House, and you finally have a chance to tell the president what you think about him and his policies. The pressure is on: you're there representing yourself and your family, it's a big honor to be there, and there is tremendous pressure to be good, and respectful, and be polite when you're spoken to.

Oh yeah, and you're seventeen.

Pretty hard to stand up on your own two feet and tell the big guy off, isn't it?

That's why I find these young scholars so inspiring.

The 141 Presidential Scholars were being honored at the White House. One of them, Mari Oye, from Wellesley, Mass., describes what happened: "The president walked in and gave us a short speech saying that as we went on into our careers, it was important to treat others as we would like to be treated. And he told us that we would have to make choices we would be able to live with for the rest of our lives. And so, I said to the president, 'Several of us made a choice, and we would like you to have this,' and handed him the letter." It was a letter Mari had handwritten. It read:

"As members of the Presidential Scholars class of 2007, we have been told that we represent the best and brightest of our nation. Therefore, we believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions. We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants."

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