8th September 2009
Wakefield High School, Arlington, Virginia
President Obama went to Wakefield High School in Arlington to give a national speech welcoming students back to school. He called for students to take responsibility and to learn from their failures so that they succeed in the end.
A student asked President Obama:
Hi. I’m Lilly. And if you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
President Obama replied:
Dinner with anyone dead or alive? Well, you know, dead or alive, that’s a pretty big list. (laughter) You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine. Now, it would probably be a really small meal because — (laughter) — he didn’t eat a lot. But he’s somebody who I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr. King, so if it hadn’t been for the non-violent movement in India, you might not have seen the same non-violent movement for civil rights here in the United States. He inspired César Chávez, and what was interesting was that he ended up doing so much and changing the world just by the power of his ethics, by his ability to change how people saw each other and saw themselves — and help people who thought they had no power realize that they had power, and then help people who had a lot of power realize that if all they’re doing is oppressing people, then that’s not a really good exercise of power.
So I’m always interested in people who are able to bring about change, not through violence, not through money, but through the force of their personality and their ethical and moral stances. And that’s somebody that I’d love to sit down and talk to.
Source: The White House Press Office