When he was younger and not as wise to the ways of the world, Leland Culver thought being president of the United States would be great. But now that he’s 12 and has had time to observe more of life, he’s not so sure.
“Being older, I can see how hard of a job it is,” said Culver. “Have you seen Obama lately? He’s really aged. Poor guy.”
But still there was a time when like many youngsters, Culver, who attends the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, contemplated what being president would mean to him.
“I’d enjoy having a really big house to explore,” he said.
But big houses, even the White House, are no longer a priority.
“I’d focus on world hunger,” said Culver, who lives in Miller Beach, listing what he thinks is most important for a president to do. “Not long ago we had a hunger banquet at our school. We entered the lunchroom and got a card. I was in the middle class so I just got rice and beans for lunch. The high class got spaghetti, bread sticks, salad and brownies while the low class just got rice.”
Though rice and beans seems somewhat limiting for the middle class, Culver points out that they’re a whole meal in themselves because “it’s a complete amino acid.”
Culver said his interest in solving world hunger is motivated by the posters in his school’s cafeteria detailing hunger statistics.
“About half of the world falls into the rice or low class ranking,” said Culver, “another 30 percent in the rice and beans/middle class and 20 percent in the high class.”
In order to eradicate world hunger, Culver said he would appoint a team of allies and work at cooperating with other countries on the issue.
“That’s because world hunger is worldwide,” he said. “So I’d probably conduct a worldwide census and find out every person who can’t support their family, and then we would need to figure out how to give them rations and then how to get the high class to share. A few might do it, but the hardest part of that is it’s kind of against man’s human nature because we’re very protective about what we have.”
World hunger is also the number one objective for Benjamin Shade, a fourth grade student at Discovery Charter School in Portage if or when he’s elected president.
“I’d try to stop world hunger by getting people to donate money or food every year if they could but they don’t have to,” he said. “Sometimes people overbuy stuff that they don’t need, and they could donate that. Every Tuesday I‘d a have machine that could let people know what food to donate and where.”
In his job as president, Shade said if he encounters a problem he can’t solve on his own, he’d ask others to help.
Eleven-year-old Annali Sasak has quite a list of issues that she would tackle if president.
“I don’t like war,” said the fifth grader who also attends Discovery Charter School. “I think I’d try to keep us from having more wars.”
She would also give more money to cancer research. “So people won’t die," she said, "and I’d get rid of really violent video game because they lead to shooting and violence in real life.”
Sasak’s 9-year-old brother Owen is somewhat more measured when it comes to outlawing all violent video games.
“I would make sure that the video games would be like Robot and LEGO violent where there’s no blood or gore but not real violent ones,” he said. “And I also will make sure health insurance is more affordable for everyone.”
When elected, Owen Sasak would solicit donations “for people to have houses and that they have sausages to put in their refrigerators and refrigerators to keep their sausages cold and that they have other food too.”
His sister, who believes girls can be as good at running this country as boys, also would add eliminating violent TV shows to her list.
“And only the police and people who need guns should have them,” she adds in keeping with “I love peace” persona.
While Shade still thinks being president could be cool, Culver’s ambivalence is reflective of what ABC News said is a growing trend among youngsters.
According to their Weekly Reader poll, nearly eight out of 10, a majority of teens, while thinking they could become president, don’t want the job, thank you very much.
Their reasoning? Forty percent cite either a lack of interest in politics or other career plans; 20 percent think the job comes with too much pressure and responsibility; for 15 percent it's too much work while 14 percent don’t think they could do the job well enough. The remaining five percent say there's too much arguing involved.