Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Am A Doughnut

I really don't want to get political on this blog.

I'm serious.

I don't want to debate politics here nor do I want to use this site to tell you who to vote for. In fact, I'd rather we all just chat about my book and traveling and all of the wonderful things in the world. Nothing but good, old-fashioned, self-promotional happy talk.

It's not that I don't care about politics. I do care. More than I should, actually.

In fact, my very first blog was a politically-themed one. I started it in Japan and called it the "Oversea-er". Get it? Because I was "overseeing" thing from "overseas"? Layered, I know. (OK, it was a misspelling.) Anyway, after all of 2 posts, it died a very quiet death. I like to think of it as a mercy killing.

Why didn't it last? 3 reasons. One, I'm lazy. Two, no matter how good my intentions were nor how carefully I picked my words, I couldn't help but feel like anything I wrote would piss off half of the people who read it. Whether I like it or not, politics is just too divisive a topic for someone who hopes to attract a large audience.

Third, if you really want good political insight, I'm probably not your best bet. Honestly, there are tons of other sites out there that do a much better job than I ever could. So, if you're up for a heated political discussion, hop on over there. Or, better yet, take me out for a drink. I'll talk your ear off.

The thing is, I just don't want to talk about it here. Think of it as kind of an unwritten rule. (Ignoring the fact that I just wrote it.)

You don't cuss in church. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off that ol' Lone Ranger and you don't discuss politics at Black Coffee and Green Tea. (Ba doot a-doot da dat dee dee da dee dee dee.)


(C'mon, you knew there was a "but" coming.)

The following touches on just too many of the themes of this blog for me to ignore it. (Hey, even a priest gets to say "hell" every now and again.)

So, let me get this out of my system. I'll try to keep it short and relatively preach-free. And I promise we'll be back to our regularly scheduled blogging soon. Here goes...

It's a big world out there. With lots and lots of people. When you're in the U.S., it's easy to forget you're part of larger picture and that the rest of the world really and truly matters.

I'm not saying if it's right or wrong, I'm just saying.

I arrived in Japan one week before the U.S. invaded Iraq. (Despite what you may have heard, I can tell you firsthand that the rest of the world was scratching its collective head at that one.) Over the next 3 1/2 years, I watched as America's reputation overseas went in the tank.

Being overseas, I spent as much time as I could with foreigners. Often, I was their only real access to America. This made things particularly tough because I usually found myself in the awkward position of having to explain things about my home country which I didn't understand or, worse, being asked to justify actions that I not only disagreed with, but felt were unjustifiable.

And, while I strived to be a worthy representative of my country, any small step I made in improving America's image overseas was wiped out by a tsunami of swagger, bad policy and ill-conceived comments coming out of D.C.

It was embarrassing and frustrating as hell.

So, with that in mind, can I just say how incredibly, freakin' awesome it is to have somebody representing the U.S. - even just as a presidential candidate - who not only inspires other countries but actually cares about the other 6,366,540,000(ish) people on the planet?

(via Crooks and Liars )

Obama in Europe: “People of Berlin. People of the world. This is our moment. This is our time.”

Senator Obama delivered a soaring speech today in Berlin before an estimated crowd of over 100,000 in which he called for a renewed trans-Atlantic — indeed, trans-global — alliance to fight the common threats we all face. Appealing the ideals America was founded on and has tried to promote since it’s inception, Senator Obama stated that whether it’s terrorism and global warming, or genocide and disease, there is no problem we cannot overcome nor enemy we cannot defeat when we are united in common purpose.
If you get the chance, click through and check out some of his speech.

It thrills me to see him projecting the very image of America that I worked so hard to project. He's talking to people with respect, like an adult. Treating others the way he'd like to be treated. (What a great rule! Why, it's almost... golden.) It's hard to not feel like I'm watching history in the making with this guy. It's pretty cool.

And it's damn nice to feel proud again.

There have been a lot of comparisons between this visit to Berlin and another one years ago. I will agree that the two speeches do have one theme in common.

That, no matter how different we are, we are all the same. We are all one.

We are all doughnuts.

70% how you look, 20% how you sound, 10% what you say.

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