Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wir Sind Alle aus Berlin...
The days to come will be full of comparisons of Barack Obama's speech in Berlin to that of Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. Fox News and various GOP talking heads have been desperately trying to spin today's events in Germany as anything other than what it was. Something that the world has not seen since the year 2000.
Let's put aside the sad pathetic desperate spew coming from the American Right over today's speech. Instead, let's look at it for what it was, historic. Historic because it was not a presidential speech.
Barack Obama is not the President of the United States. He is in fact, not yet even the offical Democratic Nomimee for President. He is the junior Senator from the State of Illinois. Massive crowds turned out to hear both Presidents Reagan and Clinton. That is understandable. It was the President of the United States who was speaking. In 1987 I was one of the people in that crowd at the Berlin Wall when President Reagan spoke. Once upon a time in our history it was only natural and expected that huge crowds would turn out to hear the leader of the free world.
Yet in the past eight years when the American President travelled abroad the only crowds that turned out were throngs of protestors to jeer, rather than cheer his presence. This alone makes today's events in Berlin nothing short of monumental. Over 200,000 people turning out en masse to greet, listen to and cheer an American politician.
I could perhaps feel some sympathy for John McCain. First he challenges Obama to travel abroad. So Barack Obama takes McCain's tripple dog dare, and the Republican Party finds they have scrable desperately to try to divert attention from the success that trip generates. You all most can hear the GOP temper tantrum. "Hey! John McCain has travelled extensively abroad, given countless speeches too!" *Stomps feet*.
Yet as I watch the McCain campaign reduce itself to child threatening to hold his breath until he turns blue to get attention; I remember the electricity in the crowd that day President Reagan spoke. I remember German friends of mine cheering themselves hoarse when an American Politician spoke of his vision of a free and just world. Over the past eight years I was convinced I would never see that again.
Today, twenty one years later, watching the cheering crowds in Berlin, I have never been so happy to be proven wrong.