"We are all Americans," declared France's Le Monde newspaper the day after 9/11/2001. It didn't take the hubris of the George W. Bush and his administration to evaporate that kind of good will. Within 18-months the entire world scorned the USA for their Iraqi adventure.
Today, America is getting another chance, a mulligan if you will, to reinstate its moral leadership within the world community. It's a daunting challenge lifted upon the shoulders of one man. You probably wouldn't gamble your life savings on the odds of his success. Nonetheless, it's great to see this son of a single-mother become the leader of the free world.
Of everything heard and said about Barack Obama, one passage published just a little over a year ago, written by the very fine conservative writer, blogger and Obama fan Andrew Sullivan and published in The Atlantic, has stood out for me. It reads:
Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.
The image Sullivan describes is powerful. If defusing global conflict were only as simple as pumping TV images into madrassas in Pakistan.
I'm watching CNN this morning and interspersed between Pepsi ads are energy company commercials promoting the invention of clean, sequestered coal. It's a gentle reminder to me that a lot of what we're watching today is just two steps removed from a Disney cartoon.