I’ve just gotten back from our every-other-year holiday pilgrimage to Germany, my husband’s home and where his entire family continues to live. Over various kinds of ‘wurst’, breads, cakes and cookies, and lots of wine, the conversation would frequently enough turn to politics. Not about the job that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is doing. Nooo! It was always the election of Barack Obama… and how wonderful it was.

If it were just our family members who were responding this way, I might just chalk it up to the fact that they know I’m an Obama supporter so they support him, too. Not to mention their eagerness for Chris and I to produce kinder of mixed ethnic and national heritage who could also grow up to be president of the United States; a by-product of the hope spurred by the Obama phenomenon.

The reality is, all over I ran across surprising expressions of how optimistic Germans (and the world, in general) are about Obama’s election. I walked into several bookstores and found almost as many books about our President-elect as you might find in any Barnes & Noble. And not all of those books were mere German translations of American writing. Some were written by Europeans themselves, even a European journalist who covered the election.

There’s something to be said about this renewed enthusiasm around the world for America. Interestingly enough, it has little to do with anything, in terms of policy, that Obama has done. It has everything to do with his tone, especially in direct contrast to almost everything President Bush has done over the last 8 years. And, too, the tone of the Bush administration, which has done us no favors abroad.

Of course my observation about the world’s response to Obama isn’t original; we’ve been hearing about it since before Election Day. I’m only noting it from a very personal perspective; something I saw with my own eyes.

It’s an expectation that we’ll return to civility, and respect for people (and countries and cultures) who are different from us. And maybe, just maybe, the rest of the political world will adopt J.R. Hoeft’s New Year’s resolution to be more civil.

But this is Virginia, where every year is a political year. And with the news that Gov. Tim Kaine is set to be the next Chairman of the DNC, we’re seeing another something for Republicans to jump on with heavy criticism, despite the fact that, whether or not you agree with him politically, he’s shown us that his interest in putting Virginia first and moving the Commonwealth forward is sincere. That’s all about tone. And with Kaine at the head of the DNC, that tone, which is still very popular here in used-to-be-reliably-red Virginia, might just make Democrats an even more palatable option than they were on November 4.

  • A Democrat takes office, and NOW the left suddenly wants civility.

    No kidding!

    I missed all the loads of civility the left showed to George Bush.

  • The United States of America is one of the most respectful nations in the world. However, it’ s not respect that Germany and the other nations of Europe want. They want conformaty, they want us to conform to their standard of economics, diplomacy, and values. Time will tell if Obama is an American original or a conformist.

  • SicSemperTyrannus

    Here’s your “change in tone”

  • Max Shapiro

    The title of your post shows just how ignorant you and everyone else is. We care more about tone, appearance, personality, anything but issues. You could ask me about education and I will give you a myriad of facts, examples, problems, and solutions.

    You ask any politician and what will they say?

    “Our kids are our future, they are very important, and they need the best education we can provide”

    Yeah, what BS, we brainwash our kids to make them better slaves. Look it up, 1880’s, People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, from a man who had much to do with our current educational system, “The similarities between schools and factories are by no means a coincidence”

    If people knew how this country was run we would have revolution before noon.

  • Reminds me of a recent exchange playing Hattrick, a fantasy soccer game

    I scheduled a Friendly match with a Greek player from the Friendly Pool. The first thing he wanted to talk about: Obama. Obama may have won an election here, but he may be even more popular in Europe.

  • Kristen L. Rouse

    I agree, Danae, that it is refreshing to see the impact of Obama’s emphasis on civility and diplomacy. I don’t have any personal connections to Europe, but I can tell you about a dear friend of mine who is an officer in the Egyptian army. He is a Muslim, and was my best friend when we served together as Coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. He has been consistently more enthusiastic about Obama that I have been. And I must admit to you that his enthusiasm for Obama’s ability to improve American relations with the Arab world and to set right many of the wrongs that have been done by the Bush administration — well, his enthusiasm was definitely contagious to me. And it is a beautiful thing. So I won’t mind the world’s love-fest with Obama. Maybe, just maybe, some good things can happen if everybody believes.

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