Triumph of optimism lights up Obama visit
Published 24/05/2011 | 05:00
BARACK OBAMA came to Ireland to tell us, in a variation on his own election slogan, "Yes you can." He brought with him the vigorous breeze of American optimism. He touched every chord, satisfied every expectation.
He spoke of dreams. The US president himself epitomises the American Dream, the dream of immigrants like his great-great-great-grandfather, who struggled against discrimination and hardship but believed in a better future for their own children; the dream, also, that African-Americans, having cast off the shackles of slavery and gained their civil rights, would witness one of their number rising to the highest office.
And he persuaded us of his pride in his Irish ancestry. Every time he used the word "we", he meant either the Americans and ourselves together, or simply the Irish. He claimed his place in the list of Irish-American presidents. He struck an instant rapport with the joyful people of Moneygall, and the vast and enthusiastic crowds who heard him speak in College Green last night.