Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama in Berlin: Build New Bridges Across the World

CNN didn’t tell us how many people waited for Obama to speak in Berlin’s Tiergarten today, I’m guessing because the number would have offended McCain.

The number is important because it brings home to otherwise oblivious Americans just what a momentous event the Obama candidacy is for other peoples.  The enthusiasm of Europeans, who are the most politically sophisticated of our Others, should bring home how ignorant the American public is of attitudes toward their country.  Our media has kept most os us blissfully unaware of how our country is seen abroad, and this does not only apply to the Bush years.

Having lived abroad for most of my life, I can attest to the fact that there has never been a time, since the early fifties, when our governments have been revered.  Had our disgrace been merely the fact of one presidency, the crowd in Berlin would not have responded as it did to Obama’s apology for past misdeeds and his determination to radically change the way we behave on the world stage.  Americans hearing his speech may have found it slightly over the top when he spoke of bringing down all the walls, and declared the need for all peoples to “listen to each other, learn from each other and trust each other”, but I can say here with absolute certainty that the rest of the world will not have agreed with that assessment.

Obama said what the rest of the world has been waiting for an American president to say for sixty years.

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