“Open Letter to Sasha and Malia”

In the “Open letter to Sasha and Malia”, by Barrack Hussein Obama, which he dedicated to his two daughters, Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7 via the pages of Parade Magazine prior to his inauguration ceremony held on January 20, 2009, there has been a lot of interest to analyze the contents of the page. “Dear Sasha and Malia,” the letter begins. This shows a lot of parental love Obama has on his children. When he talks, the fact that he was aware of the unease that his wife and the two children had gone throughout the two year –long campaign period, he portrays how responsible he is as a family man. “But I also know that it is has always not been easy for you and mom.” when he says this, he apologizes to his family for having spend less time with them through this campaign which had caused many inconveniences.

In this letter, he reveals about his life when he was a young man and how he thought that life was all about him and the way he could make his way in the world to become successful and get what he wanted in life. In the same context he talks about how all these were changed when both daughters, Sasha and Malia came into his world, and how the two have changed his life especially with the smiles that have never fail to fill his heart and light up his day. Obama further argued that, in the pursuit of his big plans for himself, it never dawned to him that his great joy in life could be seeing the two daughters happy until he realized that his life could not count very much until he made sure that they had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment was on their side.

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All these reasons and burning desire to see his daughters and every other child in the United State to have all these opportunities and chance to determine the destiny of their lives through access of education. “I want all child children to go to school worthy of their potential.” He further indicated that he wanted them go to schools that could challenge them, inspire them and instill in them the wonder of the world around. Obama continue to say that he wanted all children to go to college even if their parents are not rich enough. According to him, education could enable them get good jobs that pay well and give them benefits like the healthcare. These jobs would also enable them spend time with their children and enable them to retire with a lot of dignity.

The letter further tells of Obama’s old days with his grandmother and how she used to tell him of how America was a great nation. The grandmother explains that “America is great not because it is prefect but because it can be made better- and that the opportunity of perfecting the nation was on each of us.” Obama advised his daughters that they had to push the boundaries of discovery so that they had to live to see the technologies and inventions that could make their lives better and make the planet cleaner and safer. The letter further showed how Obama advised the children of the importance of pushing the human boundaries to enable them receive and live with other children beyond the boundaries of race, religion and gender that have kept them from seeing the potentials in each other. This point out that racism, religious differences is the major reason for low innovation.

On matters of security, Obama narrates in the letter how they have had to send young men and women to war with other nations. He further admits the intervention of U.S foreign matters criticized by other nation, “These and other dangerous situations have had to be taken in order to protect our country”. Obama though reiterated the need to have all our differences with others resolved in a more peaceful ways. He says that he could have to send the servicemen and women to war only for a very good reason and would want to see them safe. To drive the point home, he assured every child in the nation that the blessings the brave Americans were fighting for wasn’t for free. In this case Obama meant that the great privilege of being the citizen of this great nation came with a lot of responsibilities. He goes to argue that, these girls would better put aside their high school musical DVDs because they had work to do. He writes “I hope both of you will take up the work, righting the wrongs that you can see and working to give something to give the others the chance you’ve had.” He further wrote that this was not just because of an obligation to give something to the country that has given our family so much though you have that obligation but because you have an obligation to yourself.

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“These are the things I want you to –grow up the world with no limitations on your dreams and no achievement beyond your reach, and to grow”this part of the letter showObama’s upholding of his spirit of bigger dreams. Here he goes ahead toencourage his daughters to grow up and be committed women who can contribute towards building of the world. He was not only optimistic to his girls but also he shows some inclusiveness. He is not ready to forget other children in the entire universe, this sense of dreaming as a “world” not as an individual or family has made Obama’s integrity to be an international focus not localized to United States. The letter concludes Obama’s message with his consistent love as a good family man. This section became even more emotional than before. He made his love to the daughters more clear “I love you more than you can know”. This part may look as if Obama could not find any better alternative of words to express his emotions towards Sasha and Malia. He then goes beyond expectation of the letter to make clear declaration that his daughters were that young to understand and feel his concern “…than you can know”.

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The focus brought out at the letter ends is his happiness to fulfill his long dreamt ambitions about White House. This was not only his dream but also from Martin Luther jnr. one of the Obama’s greatest role models. He says they were going to start a new life there meaning this was a u-turn in his life and the family. LOVE is the second last word in the letter. This is a direct indication that the message was love to his two daughters.

In terms of appeals i.e. logical, ethical, and pathological; Obama has swayed the reader’s attitude towards it. Obama is one of the politicians who can be described as a charismatic speaker. He is able to communicate andtouch other leaders emotionally to inspire and motivate them. In his letter, he is passing a great message to other leaders in the world regarding their families. He is on a stand of having a journey and enough with the family members. This was to inspire other leaders to follow the suit. He is also described as an orator for being able to deliver his speech or writings in a high-flown manner to influence the way other people think and feel. From this letter, these traits are noticeable from the convincing nature of words. This mainly goes to leaders in the political world who get more interested on powers and politics more than their families. Some get held up in public functions and activities which don’t give them time to have private picnics with them. The first dominant appeal on Obama’s letter is the pathos. This describes one’s words as emotion-driven. This is very clear from the first paragraph to the last where Obama starts by “DearMalia and Sasha………….” this goes through all paragraphs to the last statement “…………Love, Dad”. The use of the words dear and love here portrays Obama’s character being one of the emotional leaders in the world. He dedicates his commitment to the family despite all challenges he faced during the campaign period. The letter also points out that the tour he was taking with family was meant to be get-together after 2 years campaign trail which got out of hand. The selection of words he used in the letter portrays a total emotional concern to his children and whole world. His dream was to see them prospering with good jobs which gives them better pay, good time with their kids, and ends them retiring with dignity. These words were enough to reveal his inner feeling of good wishes and ambitions from emotional point.

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One of the questioned appeals in this letter about Obama is ethical appeal. It can be argued that it was not ethically right for him to go on media and writeto his daughters. This can show some mischief inside their family relationship which might have forced him to rush and save the situation. Expressing personal interests and wishes publicly can be ethically wrong. What matters most is who reads or hears your words. In terms of logical appeal, this letter beats logic that Obama managed to express his regrets, dreams& ambitions, love and advices all inclusive in one letter. No one can question the logical order of the letter purpose and how each audience was reached with the right message. The intended audience here were; Obama’s family, all leaders, and each and every person who could reach and read the letter.


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