What an interesting time we live in, huh?
So much is being written and said about the recent elections, but in particular I have been fascinated by international reactions to the whole election.
Here are some clips from an article in the New York Times:
“From far away, this is how it looks: There is a country out there where tens of millions of white Christians, voting freely, select as their leader a black man of modest origin, the son of a Muslim. There is a place on Earth — call it America — where such a thing happens.”
“Tristram Hunt, a British historian, put it this way: Mr. Obama ‘brings the narrative that everyone wants to return to — that America is the land of extraordinary opportunity and possibility, where miracles happen.’
But wonder is almost overwhelmed by relief. Mr. Obama’s election offers most non-Americans a sense that the imperial power capable of doing such good and such harm — a country that, they complain, preached justice but tortured its captives, launched a disastrous war in Iraq, turned its back on the environment and greedily dragged the world into economic chaos — saw the errors of its ways over the past eight years and shifted course.”
“Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at the People’s University of China, said Mr. Obama’s background, particularly his upbringing in Indonesia, made him suited to understanding the problems facing the world’s poorer nations.
He and others say they hope the next American president will see their place more firmly within the community of nations, engaging in what Jairam Ramesh, junior commerce minister in the Indian government, called “genuine multilateralism and not in muscular unilateralism.”
Assuming Mr. Obama does play by international rules more fully, as he has promised, can his government live up to all the expectations?”
“We have so many hopes and wishes that he will never be able to fulfill them,” said Susanne Grieshaber, 40, an art adviser in Berlin who was one of 200,000 Germans to attend a speech by Mr. Obama there in July. … But she is sober. “I’m preparing myself for the fact that peace and happiness are not going to suddenly break out,” she said.
“So foreigners are watching closely, hoping that despite what they consider the hypocrisies and inconsistencies, the nation they once imagined would stand as a model for the future will, with greater sensitivity and less force, help solve the world’s problems.
There is a risk, however, to all the extraordinary international attention paid to this most international of American politicians: Mr. Obama’s focus will almost certainly be on the reeling domestic economy, housing and health care. Will he be able even to lift his head and gaze abroad to all those with such high expectations?”
What do you think, Is change coming?
If so, what kind?
I’d say “relatively more change,” but not “change” absolutely defined. (And, for the record, I voted neither R or D this election.)
Someone I know put it best, “Both sides will be terribly disappointed. President-elect Obama will neither bring about enough change to satisfy anything but his ardent supporters, nor will he tear apart the constitution as his detractors have predicted.”
Like most foreign coverage of US affairs (and it worked this way when US media covered the Georgian conflict, for example), the story has been heinously over-simplified. The US is not a land where success is the result of “miracles,” but where (it’s more and more likely that) you’re rewarded for your labors, contributions, and creativity. Obama was elected based on his appeal and abilities (vis-a-vis the alternative), not by the grace of God. To assign his success to an incredible twist of fate is to a) belittle him as a leader and b) to further degrade the American tradition of national and individual independence.
Congratulations, guys the American as usual have shown in a big way that there is no room for rascism, and discrimination in the world. Each should have an opportunity to excell provided he/she is willing to pay a price.
What a surprise?
I strongly believe that the world will never be the same because the change is going to have significant impact in the lives of each individual in the world.
My brother had a unique experience as a US diplomat in Beijing this year during the elections. He held a “mock election” for some graduate students attending one of China’s top universities on election day. They actually got to go into a booth and vote on legitimate cards (which were not counted, obviously) while watching the US news and tracking the election. He said that some of the people were in tears having the opportunity to (mock) vote, especially when the president was announced. Certainly an international election with all eyes on us.
I’m personally on the side that more good than bad, more change than stagnancy will come from this election. Whether a person did or did not vote for Pres. Obama, it’s our duty to support him and help positive change occur.
I love reading each of your thoughts!
It has been interesting to receive emails from people all over the world with notes of their perspective on things.
Circulating through an email list I am on from a friend who is Uganda a couple of days ago was President Elect Obama’s whole victory speech the night of the election.
If nothing else, this unprecedented event is symbolic of the world we live in. There is so much uncharted ground and unprecedented events immediately in our path that we can’t help but make history (for better or worse).
My deepest desire is to contribute to making the future as bright, innovative, and fulfilling as possible (for myself and others) – meeting the challenges that come as opportunities to create something better than has ever existed in the past.
Not for self-aggrandizement or personal recognition either, but simply because I think God gave us this life to learn to face uncertainty with faith (not fear), to create (not destroy), to make choices based on love (not apathy), and to have as much fun as possible in each moment of the journey!
In talking with friends and watching international media – I am still so surprised by how much anticipation there is for the Obama era.
One of my friends located in Kenya told me about the celebrations there.
Another one of my friends said that the Korean newspaper he read on the day Obama was elected had 19 pages – 16 about Obama and 3 with advertisements.
While in England this last week I was watching a news program describing some of the conflicts in the world (e.g. in India, Thailand, etc), and an Arabic commentator that was part of a panel started expressing his hope that “the new administration” would provide some leadership that could give hope to the world in its troubled times. It caught me off guard a little, as no one in the panel discussion was from the US, but they all knew exactly what he meant by “the new administration”. Some people challenged his optimism on the matter, but he just kept expressing his hope.