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Obama is a symbol of possibility

Last update - Sunday, May 15, 2011, 16:26 By Metro Éireann

President Obama is a man I truly admire, especially for managing to be that rarest of things – a really ethical politician. A man of integrity and decency, whose position of power has not gone to his head.

I view his upcoming visit to Ireland as a deeply significant and symbolic event that compliments fast-paced changes that are being planned here, especially in the education sector, to ensure we become a more open, pluralistic and racially tolerant society. Obama symbolises that possibility to reach one’s potential that an immigrant child can’t but cherish.
My abiding memory of that election morning in January 2009 is of me seated on a packed bus to Cork with his book Dreams From My Father open on my lap, and a black primary schoolboy standing next to me. I could sense his excitement of what this day meant to him. He looked down and saw what I was reading, and when our eyes met I knew both of us hoping for the same momentous outcome.
But how much more significant was Obama’s achievement in the mind of this young black schoolboy, living now in a strange new culture, and hoping that he too might some day realise his ambitions?
Imelda O’Connor
Carrigaline, Co Cork

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