When I was in my first apartment and going to OSU, I used to answer my phone (very professionally and cheerfully) “Planet Earth!”

I did it mostly for fun, and to see how people would react, but also, on some level, because I related more to being a denizen of this planet than to our country, state, city, school, or any other affiliation.

So I guess that’s why, for me, the most moving political speech I’ve heard was the one Obama gave in Berlin. He seems to understand that feeling of wanting to be a good world citizen. Of caring what the rest of the world thinks of us, and of feeling a sense of responsibility that comes along with being such a Goliath. That feeling has been missing for a while in our government.

I remember when Bush got elected the second time. I had gone to bed the night before, with the issue unresolved, thinking that surely the American people (gack! I can’t even type that phrase any more without hearing that idiot’s drawl) would do the right thing. When I woke up early and saw the results, I was terrified. I thought that surely the rest of the world would think we were idiots, and could not be trusted to wield the power that we hold. I fully expected airplanes to start smashing into government buildings, shopping malls, and schools within the hour.

The owner of the software company I’m once again, if temporarily, calling my employer, was the only person on Messenger at that hour, so I turned to him in my panic. He’s originally from another country, so I thought he might have some insight on what the rest of the world might think of us (and do to us). He calmed me down and let me know that the rest of the world knows that even if a lot of Americans are idiots, a lot of us aren’t, and that it’d be all right. I don’t remember exactly what he said all these years later, but I do recall it as being the best conversation I’ve ever had with him. He’s scary-intelligent, so I trusted his insights, and was really glad that he was there.

I didn’t completely calm down about it until I saw Desmond Tutu on the Daily Show. I can’t imagine why that seven-minute clip is NOWHERE to be found on the internet. It was extremely moving and heartwarming. (Actually, it must have been a rerun or something, because October of ’04 doesn’t jibe with the timeline my faulty memory is supplying.) At any rate, when Jon Stewart asked Bishop Desmond Tutu if the rest of the world thought we were idiots and wanted to bomb us, he said that the rest of the world is puzzled about our choices in government, but mainly judges the American people on their actions. Whenever anyone has a crisis anywhere in the world, Americans dig into their pockets and send money, they volunteer to help and send food and clothing to those in need. So no, they don’t hate us. They’re just puzzled.

So anyway, after all these digressions, we went and saw Barack Obama last night at a high school in Dublin. I really love that man. He gives me hope, and will reestablish us as a role model for other countries instead of a corrupt power to be feared. If not, if for some reason more of us go for “Bush Lite,” well, I guess the rest of the world will once again scratch their heads in puzzlement.

And if that happens, I will once again answer my phone “Planet Earth.”

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