They Want To Love America Again
That was what I saw, watching just the conclusion of Obama's Berlin speech. The world wants to love America again.
They never really hated us to begin with. Everyone rallied around us in those dark days in September `01; even Tehran saw pro-American rallies. Never has so much good will not only been squandered, but been inverted and turned to animosity.
Except for a handful in the caves, they didn't hate us. The hate of those few may be irreversible, but they can be made irrelevant, if we are the best America we can be with the rest of the world on our side again.
No, what the world hated was our government, our policies, our war. And they want to love us again. But they can't quite love us yet, not with this government.
Berlin wants to love the America that liberated them from Hitler, and then, with the malice toward none and charity toward all that Lincoln spoke of, rebuilt their shattered continent. They want to love the ideals that America stands for and has done such a poor job living up to.
Maybe that's why the world has been so harsh to us. We were supposed to lead by our example, and we failed horribly. No, not we. George Bush failed horribly, and deliberately, showing the world the worst of ourselves, the worst of rule by force and government by cronyism. They are angry at us with the pain of a jilted lover, and they want to feel loved again.
And they want to love us again.
The presence of the thousands on the Tiergarten, greeted Obama as if he already were our leader, seemed to say, Please. Please be as good as they say you are. Please be as good as America can be. And they showed up in the thousands as if to tell us across the Atlantic, yes he can. We trust this choice, we trust this man -- and we need you to trust him. We need you again.
That's a lot of burden to place on one man's shoulders. He's running for president, not for Messiah. It's wrong to personify all of America in Barack Obama, just as it's wrong to personify us as George W. Bush.
But he's definitely off to a good start.