Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Historic Inauguration

Obama,Michelle Obama,Jill Biden
This was a special day for me as an American, but perhaps even more so as an American living abroad. American ex-pats are often rather shy about confessing their nationality. My husband and I went to a party two years ago, and when one of the couples at our table found out I was an American, they excused themselves(they didn't care what my politics were--they did not want to sit next to an American). Of course, I was a little offended, but I wasn't that surprised. Like it or not, the last 8 years have been pretty tough on America's image, and noone feels this more keenly than those of us who live abroad. A lot of people just don't like us, and many of them have their reasons.

The funny thing is, as soon as Obama declared his intention to run for president, world opinion started to shift. And by the time I went to France this summer, the whole world was talking about the possibility that Americans might elect the first president in the western world that was a member of a visible minority. There was also a tacit understanding that electing the first black president of the United States was a vital step in healing our country's image and removing the stain of inequality that had marred our reputation around the world.

Actions speak louder than words, and President Obama will be faced with tremendous challenges. But as he often reminds us, Obama's mere presence in this office demonstrates that the Americans are truly committed to the belief that all men are created equal. And although I live in Canada, this ex-pat is feeling quite patriotic today.

Image courtesy CNN

14 comments:

PIGNOUF said...

Un grand jour pour le monde

Margaret said...

D'accord! Merci pour votre commentaire, Pignouf.

Gillian L. said...

A great post! I think Obama has awoken the possibility in everyone that working together we can make this world a better place for everyone... of every nation. It has been an inspirational day! Congratulations on your new President.

Gillian

M.Kate said...

Seriously Margaret..about how the others moved away..I find that rude actually, but it's their right I guess. I am just glad Obama is the president even if I am not an American. Happy day to you.

Margaret said...

Yeah M. Kate, it was a little rude! I was kind of surprised that they would judge me before they even met me!

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

skatej said...

I can't believe that someone would actually change tables because of a seatmate's nationality. I would NEVER do that and neither would any of the other Americans I know. What I hate so much about prejudice is that it is so ill-founded, so ridiculous and hurts everyone. Yes, I am an American, yes, even worse, I am from the South (gasp!). And people believe they know what I think (and what my IQ score is) simply for a random placement of geographics.
And it troubles me that what's exciting others most is the race of our president. That shows that race is still an issue where it shouldn't be. If race is paid attention to, then we are still divided.
I'm glad that the election of our most recent president is improving our image to those in other countries. Let's just hope it stays that way.

Sarah said...

I have to agree with the last poster. I remember hearing on election day that 96 percent of the blacks in America voted for him. If that doesn't stink of racism, I don't know what does! Maybe not the traditional white supremacy racism that most people expect, but it's there all the same. We haven't overcome anything, we've just let the tables turn.

I personally didn't vote for either candidate. I was rooting for Ron Paul. However, we did feel like Obama was the lesser of two evils- McCain was such a war monger that we thought he'd probably lead us to nuclear war. So in that respect I'm ok with Obama, but already I'm questioning the decisions he's making...

Melanie said...

I think a lot of the world has a lot of hope in Obama- that he will make the right decisions to get the world out of recession quickly.

I think it was just as well the people moved their seats. I don't think it would've been a pleasurable occassion to have been sat next to someone rude.

The only time I have come across a rude American was at Versailles. She made a comment I don't think I was meant to understand, so I put on my best Oxford English voice and said "I beg your pardon?" She had the grace to blush. I walked on. I don't have time for people who would judge a whole nationality based on their experience of just a few. Most people I meet seem to be nice regardless of nationality.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Your perspective as an American living abroad is an important one for people to hear. We have experienced truly interesting conversations with people during our travels abroad during the past eight years, however I have to say that we tended to share the feelings of most when it came to our, now blessedly former, administration. I do think we erased a lot of bad feeling by the one brave move of electing President Obama and I am so grateful for that. It was painful for me to see America's image so tarnished and I rejoiced on Tuesday along with much of the world to see this intelligent and visionary man take office. God Bless Him.

Margaret said...

I think so, too. I look forward to seeing what the next few years have in store for us!

Grant Jones said...

I feel patriotic regardless of who is sitting in the White House.

The French who have a beef with American need to visit Omaha Beach. There are also American military cemetaries all over Western Europe for our boys who died for the freedom Eurosnobs now enjoy.

willow said...

We are all very hopeful for change that will be felt worldwide!

Too bad the ignorant jerk missed out on sitting next to a woman who is as charming and intelligent, as she is beautiful.

wanderlustnpixiedust said...

There are many who are rolling their eyes at all this talk about change and Obama. I think that it says plenty about the last administration that so many are trying to grasp on to any glimmer of hope for our future and so many want change.

Trying to remain hopeful but there is oh so much to fix!

Grant Jones said...

I need to apologise to the French. Sarko invited Pres. Messiah to visit the American military cemetary at Normandy. The One couldn't be bothered to go pay his respects. He was too busy apologizing for America, and groveling to Islamists.

The sad truth is that our post-American president didn't feel any desire to go pay his respects to those who died securing our liberties. Welcome to our first transnational president. He will cause great damage.