I read an article today entitled “The World Reponds to Obama’s Victory“. The author, Wes Granberg-Michaelson, travelled to Geneva the afternoon of the elections. On the plane, the results were announced to rousing cheers. Upon landing, he was continually congratulated on this victory for America.
I spent the 10 days immediately prior to the election in Italy. The elections were a hot topic, not only on CNN Europe, but amongst the international community in general. Attendees at the conference that brought me to Europe were quick to ask for new insights into the campaign. Store managers, hotel staff, and others on the street were also anxious to talk about these elections. Parties were planned throughout Europe early into their morning on the 5th to await the results. Before leaving the conference, one colleague begged me to make sure America made the right choice this time, and he sent a note of congatulations to a group of professionals the day after. I know of one election party in the Netherlands in which guest speakers were invited and at which they took a straw poll (Obama 93, McCain 11). The main Dutch national paper opened with five pages on the election following Obama’s victory.
It’s one thing to hear about strained relations between America and the rest of the world. But to experience it first hand in such a positive outpouring of hope is quite something different. The election of soon-to-be President Obama is a positive step in the world’s eye. But fixing the current strained relations cannot rest on his shoulders alone. We all need to share the burden of moving positively into a global society.