Then-Senator, Now President-Elect Obama's 8-year old pen pal
Pinay* girl writes to Obama, gets response
Eight-year-old Fil-Am Karina Encarnacion recommended a dog that president-elect Barack Obama should get for his daughters, and in return got “three bits of advice that will make your life more fulfilling.”
Karina sent Obama a two-page handwritten letter in September, and suggested a Coton de Tulear, a small Bichon-type dog named after the city in Madagascar, for its soft cottony coat, noting that “they do not shed, they are very lovable, small and very soft.” She said she has one, named Murphy, who “is very smart and sweet.”
Obama has promised his two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, that they can have a dog when they move in to the White House.
In a surprise reply received last Oct. 30, Obama told Karina, “Look out for other people, even when it does not directly benefit you; strive to make a difference everywhere you go; and get back up every time you are knocked down.”
Karina, a fourth grader in Missouri, told the then candidate that “I think you will make a very good president… I think that you will make wise decisions for the country.”
She also offered some suggestions for the future president: “Would it be possible for you to make a law that requires everyone to recycle… And would it be possible to ban unnecessary wars?”
Obama’s letter, dated Oct. 20, thanked her “for your kind words, your dog suggestion and for your support. I am impressed with your interest in politics, especially at your young age. I appreciate your idea to make a law requiring people to recycle and to ban unnecessary wars.”
Karina told the candidate that her mother, who is not a US citizen, has nevertheless volunteered for his campaign, going door-to-door to “encourage people to vote for you. She said that since she can’t vote, she wanted at least one person to vote in her place.”
Cindy Herbosa-Encarnacion, who holds a PhD in Biology, is the director of the St. Louis Science Center. Karina told Obama that “my mother also said that if you become president, she will become a citizen for sure.”
Karina’s father John is a professor at St. Louis University in Missouri.
“Creating change and making the world better is not always easy, and you will probably find in your life that it is more comfortable to ignore injustices that don’t affect you directly. Don’t take that comfortable road. Challenge yourself to make a difference,” Obama wrote.
“If you don’t already know what it means, I want you to look up the word ‘empathy’ in the dictionary. I believe we don’t have enough empathy in our world today, and it is up to your generation to change that.”
“I hope you will always be an active participant in the world around you, and that you will seize every opportunity to make the world better,” he added.
“Seeing young people like you who care about making things better inspires me and gives me great hope about the future of our country.”
Obama’s letter, which included an autographed picture that she requested, was sent to Karina’s home in Cedarbrook Lane, Kirkwood, Missouri.
it's a modern day Grace Bedell...
Hon A B Lincoln...
My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin's. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York.
I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye
Springfield, Ill Oct 19, 1860
Miss Grace Bedell
My dear little Miss
Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received - I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters - I have three sons - one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age - They, with their mother, constitute my whole family - As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?
Your very sincere well wisher