THE BLOG

Hey World, What Do You Think of US Now?

12/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

And they say newspapers are dead in America. The New York Times sold out after printing 275,000 extra copies. People were seen standing in line outside the New York Times headquarters at 41st and Eighth Avenue in New York. Nowadays it's hard to give away newspapers for free. But today is when displaying the results "Obama Wins" on Google News isn't going to cut it. We need that hard copy to make it real and to store away for our grandchildren. I was there, we can share. I witnessed America say a collective "Yes!"

For many Americans, the other guy didn't win. They feel a sense of loss. An aging American hero who energized his own base of mavericks in 2000 won the nomination of his political party in 2008, but not the hearts and minds of the general electorate. Senator McCain, you inspired me eight years ago. I don't know where that Senator went in 2008. I never felt uplifted by your rhetoric. Joe the Plumber drove me crazy. It wasn't your year. It never could have been.

We made a mistake in 2004. And we had to correct that mistake yesterday.

We said we were sorry in 2004. Global friends, today we display a sense of pride about America, some of us for the first time, some in a long time. We're having our Michelle Obama moment. Or maybe that immediate period just after 9/11 when the French newspaper Le Monde declared, "We are all Americans now."

Where do we go from here? Do GWOT and GSAVE become outmoded acronyms? Recall the Global War on Terror and Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. Will the Obama Effect translate into a transformative, life-affirming diplomacy? Today we think it will. Only tomorrow will tell.

For now, my students are excited and enthusiastic. They keep saying America is back, that they are proud to be Americans, and that Obama's win allows them to wear two hats as American citizens but also global citizen diplomats.

We may be seeing the beginnings of presidential leadership that co-inspires mutual trust instead of conspiring to undermine public will.

Obama's acceptance speech was beyond anything the Democratic persuader-in-chief Bill Clinton could have delivered in 1992:

"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world -- our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down -- we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security -- we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright -- tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope."

I worked at the US Information Agency from 1992-1994 as a cultural affairs and educational exchange specialist. I recall thinking it's America's stories, not the official story about America, that is our best advertising campaign to the world.

And along comes one Barack Obama who embodies that philosophy.

Like Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch, this guy is almost too good to be true.