Saturday, February 28, 2009

Straight Talk

What a difference an election makes! The US now has a president who speaks the language without cringe-inducing malapropisms or grammatical error, but with grace and dignity. Barack Obama's first speech to the joint session of Congress was delivered to a nation struggling with uncertainty and, yes, fear because of the unremitting stream of bad economic news. We didn't expect him to pat our hands and heads and promise us an instant return to blue skies and frolicking puppies, but we wanted some reassurance that a different future was possible. Mr. Obama delivered the message beautifully, and the rest of the world noticed. From Germany's Berliner Morgenpost (via Watching America):

It was another one of those days when we looked enviously across the Atlantic at our colleagues in the United States. They were beside themselves with enthusiasm over their president and his ability to read his countrymen the riot act and inoculate them with a healthy dose of confidence all at the same time; to single handedly get them behind him without trying to hide the fact that they all would have to put their shoulders to the wheel in the coming years just to get ahead. The Washington Post called his keynote speech admirable. The New York Times said it was a “compelling vision.” CNN took a snap poll of Americans and reported that 85 percent of those surveyed said they were now more confident in the future than they were previously. Eighty-five percent!

Believe me, Americans understand the envy. For eight long years we stood by, humiliated by the embarrassing gaffes and intentionally misleading statements by our leader. We were ready for Barack Obama. While he hasn't done everything I would like, and he has done some things I wish he hadn't, I'm still pleased with the man. That speech is one of the reasons why.



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