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Shawn

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Barack Messiah [Nov. 7th, 2008|06:02 pm]
Shawn
Another presidential election has come and gone. Having talked with a number of people here in the States, I think the most common feeling about it is that we are glad it’s over. The whole political process here began almost two years ago, and by this time last year I was very confident Obama would win. Whether we voted for Obama or not, most people here have already accepted our soon-to-be president, and are ready to move forward.

What surprises me most, though, hasn’t been how Americans have reacted, but how the rest of the world is reacting. I have read the words of many people from around the world, and it seems like the whole world wanted Obama to be the president. Desperately. My friend Eric, an American living in Holland, wrote here in his blog about how popular Obama is there. My friend Sander, a Dutchman who feels the whole world should be able to vote for the American president, was ecstatic in his response here. And as this Australian points out, everyone he knows felt that Obama was the only real choice for a leader. While I know the rest of the world tends to favor American Democrats, I am still amazed by the incredible excitement that surrounds Obama.

On one hand, I’m glad to have a President that is well received by those in other countries. In fact, I’m thrilled! I sincerely hope this president will have a stronger international mindset and who will make decisions not just based on what he feels is good for America, but for the whole world.

But I am concerned that this world may be putting more hopes into Obama than he will live up to, or perhaps even can live up to. Think I’m exaggerating? My friend in Dubai told us that people were dancing in the streets on the day Obama was elected. “Finally,” they said, “America has elected a Muslim president. Finally we have someone who will get rid of Israel for us!” I don’t even know what Obama’s stance on Israel is, but I can promise you those people in Dubai are going to be strongly disappointed. Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, even said, “A new face offers Europe a new chance to remarry America. That's the good news. The bad news is that this outburst of Obama-mania does create expectations which no president can possibly fulfill. Sooner or later there will be some disappointment on the way.” I hope he is wrong, but I suspect he is right, and I wonder what that will mean for the US and the rest of the world.

I am greatly blessed to have a number of international friends who read my blog. Can you explain this “Obama-mania” to me, and to the rest of America? I confess, I do not fully understand it. Why do you have such a powerful admiration for him? What is it that you expect him to do that another person would not? Why are the world’s hopes so firmly set on a man in a foreign country, whose future actions no one really knows?

Perzik
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: lizzieann
2008-11-11 04:35 am (UTC)
As a disclaimer: I am a die hard republican, and I didn't actually vote for Obama. He's a bit on the radical side for me. Nonetheless, here is what I see that makes him special.

1. He's something different. Unlike the prior powers that be, he doesn't scream stuffy old man. People are really really really tired of the Bush legacy, and many people were voting simply for a non-continuation of that.

2. He's african american. It was funny, on Wednesday night after the elections, several of us were sitting around talking about the results and we all agreed that even though none of us had voted for Obama, it was really heart warming to see that we had gone from Jim Crow laws to an african american president in only 60 years. Progress is good, and steps towards diminishing racial barriers is good.

3. He's relevant. He seems to actually get that the vast majority of America is very different than Washington D.C. He did the best job of reaching out to "Joe the Plumber"

4. Most importantly: He genuinely inspired hope. He made even the most cynical people believe that things could actually change for the better after whatever
their perceived injustice was. Man, that's a powerful trait to have.

Well, anyway, that's my 2 cents.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lizzieann
2008-11-11 04:39 am (UTC)

By the way...

Did you see the "Yes We Can" music video by Will I Am? Man, I almost wanted to vote for him after seeing that, even though I disagree with most of his political viewpoints.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: philmjmills
2008-11-11 10:15 pm (UTC)
"Hope", my dear Liz, doesn't put bread on the table, so to speak. I'd rather see somebody campaign on "determination", "courage" or even "faith" - "hope" is pretty namby-pamby stuff for the President of the United States of America to be running on.

"Hope" is unsurety. "Hope" is a wish that maybe things will work out.

"Faith" is a belief that things will work out; "Determination" is a will to make sure things work out. I'd much rather follow a person with either of those than some guy waving the flag of "the hope of change".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lizzieann
2008-11-12 04:32 am (UTC)
Like I said, I didn't actually vote for him. I'm not necessarily optimistic that the change people voted for will line up all that well with the change people will see. Nevertheless, the question was "what does the whole world see in him" and at least for Americans, the world feels empowered by voting for him. It was the first time ever a whole lot of people actually felt like political leaders were something worth fighting for and it was also the first time someone convinced them that their opinion mattered. Besides, everyone has to hope in something. Obama did an excellent job touching the heartstrings of people whose worlds don't revolve around politics. People are willing to trust him to be our leader. Whether or not he merits our trust remains to be seen. One way or another, it should be interesting. I'm not ready to move to Canada yet.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: philmjmills
2008-11-11 10:07 pm (UTC)
On one hand, I’m glad to have a President that is well received by those in other countries.

Call me cynical, but I have a hard time seeing positives in having elected someone that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was rooting for. As I wrote earlier, somehow I think Ahmadinejad doesn't exactly have America's best interests at heart.

A couple of radio pundits have theorized that the rest of the world is pro-Obama because he doesn't believe that America is better than any other country (read: has any moral/ethical superiority). An American president who doesn't believe that his own country is exceptional is far more likely to cater to the interests of other world powers than of his own people - which, you must admit, probably appeals to said rest-of-the-world.
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