Imagine There’s No Countries . . .

Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

Optimism around the World for Obama

Posted by anequidnimis on January 22, 2009

It seems that people all around the world are reporting optimism in regards to our new President.  Places as far removed as Russia and countries as close as Canada are all celebrating and giving Obama the benefit of the doubt.  A quote from Lucy Williamson in Indonesia perhaps sums up the overall feelings the best:

“He will be met with high expectations here – as elsewhere. And running through it all is a huge sense of pride, a feeling shared by many Indonesians that, as one man put it, Barack Obama “somehow belongs to us”.

The view that the main figurehead of our country is actually shared with other countries around the world may in itself be a commentary on how interlinked politics are today.  The United States has such an impact on other countries, economically and culturally, that it is no surprise that our president is viewed as shared.  The actual effects may be so great that some people have actually called into question the legitimacy of only U.S. Citizens being allowed to vote for the president– this, to me, is taking things a bit far.  There were a few people before the elections that said they would vote for whoever people outside the country wanted, and while this may be well and good for his own personal means of deciding who to vote for, I feel that any widespread movement to pass away voting power from U.S. citizens to people of other countries would be something to be fought.  The president may be influential for many aspects of foreign policy, but his actions have too much effect on us to dilute our ability to vote for our own president.


3 Responses to “Optimism around the World for Obama”

  1. andershultis said

    Yes, Obama may, in their minds, “somehow belongs to [them]”. However I think that a truly global citizen would never allow themselves to be “owned” by one particular party. This reminds me of the Kennedy/Pope argument, Kennedy was not subjugated by the Catholic church, even though many thought that he would be a “lap dog” to the Pope. I doubt Obama will allow himself to be tied to the Indonesians, the African-American population or any other group. Based on what seams to be important to him, we should see him working to better the states, the world around them, and how they interact. We will see though. That all being said I am glad people around the world have such a renewed enthusiasm for dealing with the United States of America.

  2. I too, am glad that people around the world have been invigorated with a new willingness to deal with the United States. However, the feeling that Obama belongs to the Indonesians by certain members of the world’s population does not exactly make me feel all warm and cozy inside. I really HOPE that, as Ander mentioned, Obama does not become a lapdog for other nations and that the CHANGE he promises to bring will be in OUR country’s best interests first, and if the changes happen to benefit other countries as well, that would not be a bad side-effect.

  3. bklunk said

    Of course, President Obama has family ties to Indonesia that are in some ways stronger than his ties to Kenya. I wouldn’t worry, though. Ireland tended to see President Kennedy as one its own and many Irish households proudly displayed a portrait of JFK right next to a portrait of Pope John XXIII. Even more interesting is the large number of candidates in recent Brazilian elections (where you can run under any name you like) have been running as Barack Obama.

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