Is feideir linn (yes we can); three words that will go down in history I believe, by President Barack Obama speaking on Monday at College Green as part of his rather epic speech to the Irish Republic. President Obama has been accused of many things over the last several weeks, but of being a poor speaker was not among them. Considered an essential skill among politicians, least of all for the leader of the USA, President Obama continues to prove his awesome oratorical skills; this time leading a crowd of thousands of people on an emotional rollercoaster; which moved the crowd to thunderous cheering and applause.
President Obama spoke about his trip to Moneygall (funnily enough means ‘foreigners thicket’) that morning and how he was moved by the warmth for his visit to his ancestral home. The Presidents cousin was there on the scene to greet him when he arrived to meet a crowd of local fans. He drank a whole pint of Guinness (quite a big deal given his position) while enjoying the incredible hospitality of his new found home. His wife too, Michelle Obama, was found pulling pints for the locals, one of which was the parish priest who was caught sneaking away with a pint of the black stuff that Michelle had expertly pulled.
President Obama’s visit to Ireland marks not only a much desired visit by the most influential man in the world, but also by the most revolutionary figure in the world. Being black, President Obama has had the weight of a number of ethnic and minority groups in the USA and the world on his shoulders. He championed the cause of a number of marginalised communities in the US and continues to campaign on their behalf for a more equal, free and just society. Obama has come to embody the essence of hope for many people.
President Obama’s speech touched the hearts and minds of many people, including myself, with his message of hope and promise for a peaceful and prosperous future. Promising the Irish Republic that both he and the US will support us in our continued struggles, the President sent a ripple of energy through the crowd. Earlier in a discussion with Enda Kenny, He said the U.S. is “rooting for Ireland’s success and we’ll do everything that we can to be helpful on the path to recovery.” I have to say that I am genuinely relieved to know that Mr Obama and the USA will have our backs. As I am sure that the Europeans, (Mr Sarkozy, I hope you’re listening) harassing us about economic affairs and our corporate tax policy, will be reconsidering their stance. The saying ‘Barack’s got your back’ will be ringing through for us for a while I think.
President Obama left us, just hours after he inspired us to stay true to ourselves and our common values and goals. He spent a few minutes among the crowd in true statesman fashion, laughing and uplifting the spirits of young and old; a true leader if there ever was one.