It has been great to be in Europe in the week following the US elections. There is no question that Senator Obama was supported by the Europeans. The election was monumental, as I’m sure nobody would deny – Democrat, Republican, Green, or Independent. It is, in my mind, a very big step in the right direction for the US. Unfortunately for the Illinois Senator, he is stepping into The White House to find a troubled economy at home, two dead end wars in the Middle East, a struggling healthcare system, and the list could go on.
Additionally, he will become the US President at a time when the US has lost the respect of the world. In Bari, I was speaking with a Dutch backpacker about the election. He – just as literally everyone I’ve spoken with – was excited Obama won the election. “It is exciting,” I told him, “because now we can begin to regain our reputation in the world.” His response, I felt, was quite blunt and oh so true. “Yes,” he said, “but it is a lot easier to loose your reputation than it is to regain it.”
I’m afraid he is right; at least Obama is a step in the right direction.
I was walking around the Plaka neighborhood here in Athens yesterday and came across an old lady sitting outside of her shop. The owners of the many stores in this neighborhood bring chairs outside their shops, sit in the sun, drink iced coffees, and smoke cigarettes. I noticed something peculiar about this specific shopkeeper …