Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama Reaches Out To The World


Simply freaking wow.

It's hard to express how I felt about the just-concluded Obama speech in Berlin, Germany, but it's not hard to see the effect it had.

We've heard for years from the right-wing tools that Europe hates us, and that they're a bunch of cowards who will never fight, and having any sort of ties to Europe is bad, yadda yadda yadda.

Today demonstrated what a bunch of errant nonsense that is.

Obama came as an American, no more, no less, and he reminded both Europe and us that we have longstanding ties that go back sixty years, to the Berlin Airlift, where through our better nature and a supreme effort, we saved West Berlin from falling to the Soviets, and preserved freedom in a landlocked island. Forty years after that, the island was opened up, and freedom spread from it, as it does from all such ideas.

Freedom is not spread at the barrel of a gun. Freedom does not come from forcing it upon others. Freedom does not come from empty rhetoric. It comes from the yearning of people who want to be free and act upon those ideas. It comes from showing the best of human nature, and not reverting to its worst. It comes from reaching out your hand to take that of someone else's and together standing up for the common good. That is what freedom is.

In embracing the idea of a shared purpose for the common good, in reaching out our hand through his to the world, in acknowledging our faults and promising to do better, Barack Obama did what the president of this great nation should have done years ago. The acknowledgement of the crowd in Berlin said everything that needed to be said. It isn't America they hate, it isn't Americans that they hate. Their hate is for those who take hold of our nation and use it as a force for negative change, who use it for personal gain, who use our power to try and dictate to the world that they don't matter.

The world does matter, and Barack Obama is proving that. The rest of the world is practically begging us to elect this man, because they truly do want to work with us, because America at its best won the Cold War, and twice held the line against tyranny when it looked bleakest for the world during both World Wars. America at its best is capable of being a force for good, of being a force that can galvanize the world into being a more peaceful, tolerant place, a force that can stare down the evil that exists and lead a charge to end those who most threaten our shared security.

May God grant enough of us the wisdom to realize this and vote for true change, the sort of change that comes around rarely, the change that can truly change much of what is wrong with the world. There is great work to be done, but electing a great leader is a good place to start.