Friday, July 25, 2008

The 44th President of the United States in Berlin

Obama Speaks to 200,000 at Berlin's Siegessäule

The speech blew my mind.

Obama isn't running for President of the United States. As Gerhard Spörl, the chief editor of Der Spiegel's foreign desk eloquently points out, Obama is running for President of the World.

Der Spiegel

Anyone who saw Barack Obama at Berlin's Siegessäule on Thursday could recognize that this man will become the 44th president of the United States. He is more than ambitious -- he wants to lay claim to become the president of the world.

It was a ton to absorb -- and what a stupendous ride through world history: the story of his own family, the Berlin Airlift, terrorists, poorly secured nuclear material, the polar caps, World War II, America's errors, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, freedom. It's amazing one could even pack such a potpourri of issues into sentences and then succeed in squeezing them all into the space of a speech that lasted less than 30 minutes.

He also could have said: We are a world power, the only one that exists on this planet at the moment, and I am going to act as if that were the case. But you're also allowed to participate in the attempt to try to save the world -- at least a bit of it. In that sense I am different from George W. Bush -- very different. Indeed, Barack Obama has his own sound -- it's more utopian, he speaks of the general human desire for better conditions for all of humanity; and he speaks of the longing for strong and dynamic presidents and chancellors who are capable of acting on a global scale. With this drive and this radiance, he managed to drive Hillary Clinton out of the campaign. It is also the way he is going to outpace John McCain on November 4. It is the way he took the hearts of Americans by storm and it is the way he is now taking Europe by storm.

However, he is also certain to demand the help of the Germans, Brits and French in Afghanistan and Iraq. He's not going to allow NATO to shirk its duty -- and that is where the perils of the engaging "we" and the catchy "Yes, we can" lie. Otherwise all these hard-nosed Europeans will hope and pray that the future President Obama isn’t really all that serious about the saving the world of tomorrow, the polar caps, Darfur and the poppy harvest over in Afghanistan.

George W. Bush is yesterday, the Texas version of the arrogant world power. Obama is all about today: the "everybody really just wants to be brothers and save the world" utopia. As for us, we who sometimes admire and sometimes curse this somewhat anemic, pragmatic democracy, we will have to quickly get used to Barack Obama, the new leader of a lofty democracy that loves those big nice words -- words that warm our hearts and alarm our minds.

Let's allow ourselves to be warmed today, by this man at the Victory Column. Then we'll take a further look.
The speech will BLOW YOU AWAY.

It is worth giving it your attention for thirty minutes.

Daughter number three, Kyle, and I were watching, debating if Obama truly means everything he is saying, or if he is simply a super politician.

Either way, we both agree, he is without question, simply the best orator either of us can remember seeing... her in her lifetime, myself, since Dr. King. I was not quite nine years old on April 4, 1968, when Dr. King was assassinated. I had listened to his speeches -- can't tell you if they came to me on the radio and television live or delay, but I had listened to them. And in years past, I've spent easily hundreds of hours listening to Dr. King speak. Without question, to me he is THE political orator of the last century, bar none.

This century is young and its voices have yet to be heard... yet whomever 100 years from now historians judge to have been the orator of the century, certainly Obama has a genuine shot at the title.

If you listen to nothing else, go to 20:53 and listen till the end. It's under five minutes.

In the final five minutes Obama repudiates Bushism to the world.

He says, the America you loved, the America you dreamed of and trusted, the America you grew up believing in... that America is still here and always will be. Count on it. We have had our rough spots here and there as everyone does, but the American dream is as alive today as it was over 200 years ago. And with your help America will reach out our broad arms across the wide waters and embrace the world, to cure AIDS in our life times, to a blogger in Iran, to victims of human rights abuse where ever they may be.

Want to see if Obama's got what it takes? Cue to 20:53 and rock & roll.

You're watching The 44th President of the United States at work.

It isn't even a question.

h/t Raw Story.