Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama in Berlin

More than 200.000 people showed up.

Instead of protesters, this time Berliners, Americans living in Germany, and tourists from all over came to see the man who is going to change the perception of the U.S., not only in Germany but in entire Europe. As someone who has spent a lot of time in the U.S. it was wonderful to see American flags being waved in Berlin today. His Berlin visit is further evidence that Obama has already improved Americas standing in the world. America should be proud of him, even if he does not manage to win the elections.

The contrast between Obama and Bush/McCain could not be bigger. The people in Berlin saw someone who gives them the feeling that he - like them - lives in the 21st century. Someone who has the guts to admit in a televised speech that America has done many things wrong in the last years. Someone who does not treat Germany like a little brother who is not wanted if he does not play along.

The speech was well received. However, being in the crowd myself, I don’t think it was his best. It was obvious that he struggled to speak to the people of Europe and at the same time to his voters back at home. He still managed to heal a lot of wounds that opened up in the last 8 years in a little bit more than 20 minutes. The last time Germany has seen an American politician taking a bath in the crowd was a long time ago. How refreshing! I am proud of my fellow Germans for the way they received the senator. I am also proud of the senator for reminding people in Europe that America has more to offer than crazy gun-laws, anti-abortion rights activists, and never ending public disputes about different religious views.

I really hope that anyone who is not convinced by Obama’s qualities, appreciates the meaning of his visit and the enthusiasm he created in my city today. Sometimes experience is not as important as the ability to give people the feeling that their views get at least taken into consideration. What we are seeing is a new era of American politics and a new era of America. America is struggling right now pretty much on every front. It is really time to give this man a chance. America cannot afford to vote for the past again (especially not if racial reservations or misinformation about the candidate’s religious views would be the cause).

Obama won’t be able to fix all the problems that would be on his plate in January, if he should get elected president. However, it will be less difficult to build bridges if you are an individual who can inspire not only Americans but also people abroad. Europe needs America just as much as America needs Europe. The balance between the two became disrupted in the last 8 years which led to problems that neither the Americans nor the Europeans can afford to have.

Obama is what the U.S. needs right now. What a wonderful individual. I hope his speech in Berlin and the turnout (3 times as many people as at his biggest rally so far in Portland Oregon) convinced people back in the U.S. in front of their TV sets that they saw someone special. Someone who does not appear on the political stage too often. America should be proud and should get this man elected in order to cash in on his potential.

I pray that I will see Barack Obama in Berlin again one day. This time, though, as the president of the United States of America and, as he said today, as a citizen of the world – not only a citizen of Northern America.

Thanks for coming to Berlin Mr. Obama! You are welcome to come back anytime!


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