Ceiling was gone before Obama

February 2, 2009

I read with interest Robert Patterson's viewpoint column

"Feeling like a true American, at last," (Jan. 26).

In particular, I was disappointed by his statement: "For as much as my parents tried to convince me as a child, the realities of American society, even as an adult, led me to conclude that there was a ceiling to my individual aspirations ... ."

I would ask Dr. Patterson: Did you feel the "ceiling" while attending DePauw University, where you became the first person in your family to graduate from college? Or did the "ceiling" loom over your head during the time that you were employed as a pharmaceutical representative at Eli Lilly, a world-class company? Of course, maybe the "ceiling" prevented you from reaching your true aspirations at Indiana University, where you managed to receive not only an MBA, but also a doctorate in medicine, despite the "realities of American society"! Yes indeed, Dr. Patterson, it appears that American society prevented you from achieving your dreams during those times.

Given the evidence, Dr. Patterson, I think that you should have felt like a "true American" long ago and been thankful for the admittedly imperfect country that gave you the chance to achieve your dreams. Alas, you seem only to have found your patriotism recently, on the Mall in Washington, D.C., during the inauguration of President Barack Obama—(another victim of the "ceiling"?).

It is my wish, Dr. Patterson, that at some point you will realize that American society, warts and all, has provided you with the opportunities that have landed you where you are today. Amazingly, all those benefits accrued to you prior to Obama's presidency! Don't dwell on the "ceiling," because your own life shows that, if you are willing to work hard the sky's the limit!

John Shay

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