Barack in Berlin

Just got back from vacation, and found a pile of news waiting for me. Including the big Barack in Berlin speech. If you want some fun, read the international response at WatchingAmerica.org. I watched it after hearing David Brooks describe it as devoid of foreign policy, just fluff. But Obama is the ascending leader, and the new voice of America, the first new voice in 7 years. It is necessary for him to speak very broadly, about what we have in common and what the goals of all mankind are. Big goals. So he still maintains Bush's dream of global power, but seems capable of explaining it to the world in a reasonable way. It reads nice, and listens even better if you want to check out the youtube, but part of me wonders if this isn't the Omega Code all over again. But hey, so long as it's interesting, right?

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here -- what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?

Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

People of Berlin -- people of the world -- this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived -- at great cost and great sacrifice -- to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom -- indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us -- what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores -- is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

These are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. These aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of these aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of these aspirations that all free people -- everywhere -- became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation -- our generation -- must make our mark on the world.

People of Berlin -- and people of the world -- the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. With an eye toward the future, with resolve in our hearts, let us remember this history, and answer our destiny, and remake the world once again.


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