Obama Address Raises Two Questions


If Barack Obama had one obstacle to the presidency before the vote in November it was to appear presidential, and pass the commander in chief test. Today he crushed these obstacles. It was that good.  His speech in Berlin could have been given by John Kennedy, and was better than the one that Reagan delivered.

The speech was eloquent and fluid; it commanded respect and drew great favor with the crowd of more than 100 thousand. This is the first time I have seen live television shots of people in Europe waving american flags rather than wearing paper mache masks.

In terms of symbolism, Obama won the day on two counts: 1st, he passed the presidential threshold with aplomb; 2nd, he took substantial strides towards repairing america’s image on the world stage. if only he wins.

The speech leaves two challenges to consider:

1st has to do with the wall metaphor Obama used repeatedly, following Reagan. Reagan said to tear down the physical wall separating west and east; and the metaphorical wall of ideology separating these two hemispheres.

Obama echoed the sentiment that walls should and could come down; sounding a metaphor for race, religion and ethnic divisions around the globe. The challenge for Obama during this campaign is to propose a similar call to Boeing to take down the wall it is constructing along the US-Mexico border, with the ethnic and class divisions that coincide with construction of the virtual and physical fences to our south.

Second, is a challenge to the American people, which I think is an important subtext to the Obama speech.  Since it has become abundantly evident that Obama represents the sort of candidate that Americans say they are ready for, even crave: one who will replace the republican disaster of the past 8 years; one who can string together more than a couple half sentences that McBush passes off as a speech; one that appeals to the hopes and dreams of americans while regaining some respect in the world; one who pledges to end the war in Iraq…..  The challenge here is obvious: would americans elect a man whose father was born Kenyan.

The latest polls just released showing McCain having pulled ahead in Colorado and edging closer in minnesota and Michigan and this despite the horrendous gaffe-filled; competency questioning couple weeks McCain has had, well this speaks the challenge for americans to dig a little deeper here to see the real choices before them.

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2 responses to “Obama Address Raises Two Questions

  1. Thinking Voter

    For some reason, everyone neglects to mention that Obama spoke at a Free Concert.

    Maybe all those thousands of young Germans turned up for the two bands that were playing instead of coming to hear a speach in english.

    Nah, Obama’s charisma is so powerful it transcends language.

    More Kool Aid anyone?

  2. To Thinking Voter

    As long as Obama’s speech lasted, no one was shouting for him to get off the stage to they can see the musical act. And I use to live in Berlin, there were only TWO acts that commanded over 100,000 people to show up. Michael Jackson was one of them and that was in the 80’s and the other was Pink Floyd Wall concert at the Berlin Wall (about 300,000 europeans showed up, but it was a 10 hour show). People don’t show up for a free show unless it was someone big.

    After Obama’s speech people were crushing each other just to shake his hand, get a photo on their personal cameras. No one boo, as they did George Bush when he made trips to europe, no one were burning flags as they did when George Bush went to Germany for a vist. People were waving those American flags. And yes, I absolute, 100 percent believe that his Charisma transcends nations. And by the way, in Germany, English is mandatory in elementry schools.

    But people can believe what they want, but what I witness with my own eyes is an american politicians, standing before a crowd of over 200,000 europeans, mostly germans, being cheered.

    And the other image I seen was John McCain, making a speech in a grocery store and during his speech, was interrupted by the intercom about a store special. The same John McCain who will not be reading this because he doesn’t have email, don’t understand information technology and who hires people who thinks the economy is going great. Yeah… some of us may be drinking the kook aide, but some people refuse to remove their heads out of the sand. I nominate the Ostrich as the new symbol of the republican party.

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