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I watched Obama's speech in Berlin today. Three things kind of stood out in my mind.

First, I cringed at the knowledge that the McCain campaign and Republican media would use this speech to prey upon the worst demons of our citizenry, among them rampant and unashamed xenophobia. The Corner provides an excellent example of this: In response to the address, "People of Berlin, People of the World," K-Lo, as more savant bloggers apparently call her writes:
"Apparently this is a moment that Obama doesn't really need Americans for."
One has to be alarmed when the United States is transported to a separate planet by right-wing pundits.

But, on a more positive note, I couldn't help but delight in the rhetoric of uplift that appeared to strike a chord with the diverse assembly gathered in Berlin. Acutely sensitive to the political and social arrangements that stereotype, marginalize and physically threaten people of color, immigrants, and Muslims in Europe, Obama was able to connect with the struggles of these communities in his speech while also reminding his US audience of the road we ourselves must travel:
"The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down."
For some reason, MSNBC's Chuck Todd commented that the content of the speech would be something with which McCain would be equally comfortable -- and yet, it doesn't seem to me that McCain can look at foreign countries and see them for their populations as opposed to for their targets.

Finally, I couldn't help but thinking, not just upon seeing the 200,000 people assembled for the speech but seeing them waving American flags, that we really can't afford not to elect Obama. To fritter away that goodwill and return to the days when the only time we see American flags burnished overseas is when they are being burned would pretty much signal our decline into irrelevance and the victory of the deepest misanthropy that a nation of free citizens can express.

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