Yesterday, I printed some of the responses I have received from people offering encouragement to the 13-year-old girl who dreams of becoming president of the United States. My office has been flooded with terrific messages of support for her, and I am printing more of them today. Read on:
I am a 14-year-old girl writing in response to "I Have a Dream." I was enraged when I read her letter. Tell her to NEVER let the fact that she is female get in her way and to hold her head high. She is an avant-garde thinker ready for the future, surrounded by a bunch of backward, out-of-date idiots.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Be strong, stubborn and positive that you'll get there, and you WILL accomplish your dream. You go, girl!
Enraged Teen Feminist, Rochester, N.Y.
I was taken aback by the fact that "I Have a Dream's" teacher laughed at her when she said she wants to be president of the United States. His inappropriate response was merely a demonstration of his own lack of ability. To say a 13-year-old woman cannot aspire to be president is as absurd as telling Arnold Schwarzenegger, a poor immigrant weightlifter, that he cannot become governor of California.
Author of "Handbook to a Happier Life"
I am 60 years old. When I was her age, a woman had four choices: office worker, wife, nurse, teacher. That was it. My sister was told she couldn't go into computers because that was "a man's job." My daughter is extremely good with computers and uses them at her job in finance, another field that was closed to women in the past.
A woman certainly will be president. A woman has already run a major country. To name a few: Golda Meir, Israel; Indira Gandhi, India; and Margaret Thatcher, England. "I Have a Dream" should run for president of her class and the student council. She should seek office in her town, her state and her country. If she's not elected, she should analyze her defeat and run again. She will succeed.
Carolyn Augustine, Lakewood, Wash.
I am an over-40 member of the U.S. military. That young girl should hold her head high and use either national security adviser Condoleezza Rice or Sen. Hillary Clinton as examples of women who could easily be their party's candidates for president in four years. In America, anyone can dream of being president.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey A. Thompson
Midwest City, Okla.
My daughter expressed the desire to be president in second grade; no one laughed. She was her high school class valedictorian and is graduating from a difficult engineering college "magna cum laude." She had a full military scholarship, so she'll be commissioned as an officer to serve for the next five years. I have faith that she could become a great president one day. I will never discourage her. The teacher who laughed at "I Have a Dream" should be fired, and the tormenting students should be punished.
Proud Mom in Bedford, N.H.
I'm sure that part of your daughter's success is because she was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged and supported her. My congratulations to your daughter, and to you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate