In analyzing how Senator Obama became the prospective candidate for the Democratic party, and maybe will become the next president of the United States, and what helps and what hinders this candidacy, one should take at least three factors into account: the candidate himself and his ideas; his advisers; and his grassroots supporters.
According to Associated Press, 200,000 people came to hear Obama. Only very rarely in German history, a German politician has managed to get that many people to listen to him or her in Berlin voluntarily. So, that is remarkable. If the US Republican candidate John McCain would have made a speech in Berlin, he would have to have been satisfied with an audience of some hundreds, maybe far Right fringe people who like ideas about one hundreds years of war in Iraq and singing “bomb bomb Iran“.
So, remarkably, most of Obama’s Berlin audience were Germans who could not even vote for him. Probably, a minority of thousands were United States citizens living or traveling in Europe. In a report about Obama’s Berlin speech in Dutch daily De Pers, remarkably, all the people interviewed by reporter Thijs Roes were either African American or African immigrants to Germany.
From that report:
‘One can already see that he is also causing a change here’, Todd (30) says. The black artist from Minnesota has already been living in Berlin for eighteen years. ‘Europeans are always claiming that they are not discriminatory; however, that is not correct. Now that Obama has come so far, one can feel the change.’
Ndula, a salesman who grew up in Cameroon, agrees with Todd: ‘Obama represents everything which the Europeans are always claiming which they are ’, says the extravagantly dressed up German Obama fan. Some of the fans are over enthusiastic. ‘Obama is going to bring unlimited immigration!’, a young black man shouts, supported by his friends, draped in US American flags. Musician Jasie from Cameroon is enjoying himself. He is feeling goose pimples, he says, while shaking his head happily: ‘That remark about his complexion [in the speech] was a gift to Berlin. He knew that that remark would go down well.’
“The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand,” Obama said, speaking not far from where the Berlin Wall once divided the city. “The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand”.
Right. Somewhat missing here is the wall, so much bigger than the former Berlin wall, now being built by George W. Bush on the US-Mexican border. And the segregation walls in Baghdad; about the only “reconstruction” happening in George W. Bush’s Iraq of war and occupation.
Veterans Respond to McCain’s “Obama Wants to Lose” Remark: here.
A comment on Obama’s speech, Iraq, and Afghanistan: here.