Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Whole World Celebrates The Beginning Of Obama's Presidency


I spent most of December in Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world. When I first arrived in the capital, Bamako, the only place most Americans would recognize as even remotely part of our world, I was stunned to see American flag decals and Obama stickers everywhere. I mean everywhere. I never saw anything like it. Every taxi, every truck, every bus had some kind of a pro-America or pro-Obama sign. Even more shocking was that when I left Bamako and visited remote parts of the country-- including villages with no electricity and far from roads-- I still found American flags and Obama-Biden bumperstickers!

Across Africa people are accutely aware that it is an African-American who is becoming president of this country today. And I know it is difficult for people who don't travel outside the country to understand this, but for many, if not most, people across the world, the president of the United States really is looked at as the leader of the whole world. In the last 7 years people have been very, very disappointed. And now the world is ready to be inspired by America again. Today's NY Times ran a piece datelined Paris about how the rest of the world looks at the inauguration.
Around the globe, from Hong Kong to London, Barack Obama’s inauguration became a day for millions to fete an event they refused to see as reserved for Americans and insisted was one that touched lives far beyond the United States.

The focus for Americans may well have been defined by the election of the first black president, by the end of the Bush Administration, by the promise of renewal or by the hope for change. But, in specific terms, many outsiders saw the transition as a signal for their own new era, a starting gun for a new manner of international behavior.

...In Paris, a celebration at the ornate Hôtel de Ville on the banks of the River Seine was set to be followed by less formal merriment around the city. The American Library in Paris offered a screening and a debate. British cities including Belfast, Liverpool, Leeds and London, scheduled big-screen viewings of the inauguration.

...In Tottenham, a multiethnic neighborhood of north London, Juliet Alexander, the organizer of an inauguration celebration in an arts center, said the significance of the American election lay in the belief that “he is not just a black president, he is a politically educated man who has touched the imaginations of people all around the world.”

“He represents a movement to people-- and we are happy to celebrate that,” she said in a statement.

Many of the events in Paris and London were organized by groups representing American Democrats living abroad, but, like Mr. Obama’s election campaign, they drew in many others who saw the change of leadership in Washington as bearing directly on their own lives and hopes.

As President Shimon Peres of Israel put it, “Today is a great day not only for the United States of America, but for the entire world.”

“I pray here in Jerusalem that Barack Obama will be a great president of the United States. If he will be a great president of the United States, he will serve all humankind, all nations and all persons,” he said.

Indeed, Israeli forces were pulling out of Gaza on Tuesday, anxious to be out after their war on Hamas by the time the inauguration ceremonies began in Washington.

The political significance was not lost on German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said she hoped the Obama era would be built on a broad international agreement that “no single country can solve the problems of the world,” a hope built in part on the perceived unilateralism and bellicosity of the Bush years from 2000 to 2008.

It's estimated that more people in the U.S., and more people around the world, are watching Obama's inauguration than have ever watched anything on TV... ever! If you've been watching TV-- other than Fox-- you know the whole country has been galvanized by Obama in a way that no one has united the country since FDR first came to power in the midst of the last Great Depression. There is a great sense of history today, unlike anything I can remember. Earlier, we looked at some of the skunks at the party in the media and in the GOP. Even today, Texas reactionary and extremist John Cornyn, was threatening to place a hold on the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as Obama's Secretary of State. I wish President Obama all the best in terms of his post-partisan idealism-- all the best and a good defense against an Inside the Beltway power system where the good will is unlikely to last beyond Friday.

UPDATE: Gingrich Isn't Buying Into Any Post-Partisanship, No Way

When Newt Gingrich was driven from the speakership and Congress in disgrace he went out as one of the most disliked and divisive figures ever. Looks like nothing has changed at all. He's urging his fellow right-wingers to fight President Obama's from Day One. Knowing it isn't a battle they can win, Gingrich is urging rightist senators to make a stink about the nomination of Timothy Geithner.
Some leading Senate Republicans publicly have avoided confrontation of the nomination with the economy in dire straights.

"Now is not the time to think in small political terms," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said recently. "I don't see any desire by the Republican Party to play 'gotcha' on this."
Mr. Graham said he thinks Mr. Geithner is "the right guy" for the job.

But Mr. Gingrich insists that it "would be wrong for someone who did not pay taxes to become secretary of the Treasury in charge of getting taxes from the rest of us. It would be doubly wrong to appoint him in an administration which intends to raise taxes on the rest of us."

I thought not paying taxes was a Republican ideal. Perhaps Mr. Gingrich should make a statement about the $100 billion that is lost annually to the U.S. Treasury by because Republican-sponsored loopholes allow big corporations to use off shore tax havens with no fears of retributions.

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At 11:54 AM, Blogger Dr. Know said...

I hope the strategy is to offer a hand; and once bitten, toss the offenders out of the sandbox to play by themselves. Let them further isolate themselves from meaningfull progress and the public spotlight. Who needs 'em.

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big day for america, I hope Obama will change the world !

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's his lapel flag? That was a deliberate screw up on the pledge, that man can never say the pledge right! Hallelujah!! You bunch of liberals are all duped! I tell ya what, that looked to me a hellava lot like a Koran too.

- Pastor Bob - Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Minister

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The entire world is happy...except for a small portion of white Americans in the south and mid-west!

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Pastor Bob, you're a dumbass...that was the Lincoln Bible fro the National Archives!

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heathens! I know my bible! You Liberals apologize on a daily basis for the "errors" that the King James Bible brought us! I don't have to worry about it, I don't have to think about it, I don't have to go to bed at night hoping it's right, because praise Lord, IT IS RIGHT! That looked suspicious to me, that bible, hallelujah! Where was his lapel flag? You heathens have been duped! - Pastor Bob - Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Minister

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Bob,
I think you are a child molester.

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heathen! Where is your name? What are you afraid of? You're going straight to HELL Hallelujah! That's right, you heathenistic devil! - Pastor Bob - Independent Fundamentalist Baptist MINISTER!

At 3:28 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Pastor Bob, can you please stop calling the commenters and readers of this blog heathens? If you would like to politely debate the topics, you're welcome here.

And whoever has been calling Pastor Bob a child molester, either come up with the proof-- not ALL pastors molest children-- or please try keeping it civil and try veering away from the ad hominem attacks. Remember, Pastor Bob may seem a little strange about some things, but he's the one with the good sense to denounce the Mormons whenever they rear their bigotted heads.

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, Howie, if I didn't think all the CATH-OLICS were going to HELL! I would say you were going to Purgatory instead of plain old hell, cuz you ain't that bad for a Liberal. Check out my website all you readers to find out how many days the Mormon founders have been in HELL for. Also, check out my anti-Liberal/anti-Mormon/anti-Cultist hate/love fest this next season.

- Pastor Bob - Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Minister

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes big day in America. But why we still using the race to celebrate his inauguration. He is not an African-American. He was born in Hawaii, his father was from Kenya, his mother was as white as snow white. He has a light tan on him. I am as dark as he is, I was born in Egypt, which is in Africa. Does it make me African-American? No. He is a native born american that's all, and I am a naturalize american.

At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama Saves the world? Right! A half white man saves the world. What else is new. Without the white man Africa would not even be what it is now. Kenya suck it!

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Koshem Bos said...

Before changing the world, European, Canadians and downunders want to go back to a normal world. World with less wars, with more discussion, more collaboration, less negativity, more reason, less prejudice and progress.

During the Bush years, I was always asked on my travel: how come you have such a guy (and they didn't know half of it). Even during the primaries people viewed the two Democratic contenders as a great improvement over Bush.


At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great day for America and the world. I had to watch the tape twice to make sure that Shrub actually got on the helicopter and left town.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree today is a momumental step forward but had to laugh at the comment made by one Anonymous person which states "...I had to watch the tape twice to make sure that Shrub actually got on the helicopter and left town..." Admit it, you'll miss the hillarity of Gee-Dubbya's verbal gaffes.

God bless the Obamas from your fans Down Under!

At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timothy Geithner .. poster boy for the "New Era of Responsibility"

At 11:02 AM, Blogger mai said...

Here is a bit of world shaking wisdom: people are people.

Dont think for a moment that we have the answer. Look behind you, oops here comes another generation whose 'britches are too big for them"


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