Once again, President Barack Obama has demonstrated his mastery at coalition-building. While the rhetoric he delivers is not always supported by facts or logic, the striking differences between the language he uses when addressing audiences and that of his predecessor are significant and meaningful.
Most notable is the use of "we" language. When Barack says "we," "us," or "our," he is intentionally inclusive of others. Not everyone, but certainly those considered allies. Bush was consistently exclusionary and belligerent in his language regarding non-US entities and even US citizens when they weren't on the "right" side.
Read on if you're interested and please comment with your thoughts!
Without specifically bashing the previous administration or G.W. Bush, our 44th President, Barack Obama has just delivered a fence-mending address to the people of France, and by extension, Europe, that is an essential step in moving toward global economic, environmental, and political cooperation through the 21st Century.
While I am not a fan of the on-going economic "growth" focus, which Obama is stressing now in an answer to an American's question, having open lines of communication and building relationships across the Atlantic is key to establishing America's ability to lead change in the world.
Being in front of a French audience also provides a rationale for raising some of the progressive issues that are anathema to typical American audiences and commentators after the last 8-30 years of regressive social and environmental policy. Being among the audience in Strasbourg allows Obama to talk about ecological sustainability, health care, and war in more "liberal" terms.
To be very clear- I don't agree with the continuation of disastrous "globalization" policies which, in the name of "development" hold poor countries and their impoverished populations over a barrel and exploit their resources while doling out crumbs! I believe we, as citizens, must put pressure on our leaders, including President Obama, to reconsider our economic model because the design, itself, is flawed. (see link to Daniel Quinn's work to the right, for more on this...)
I am under no illusions that this administration is any less manipulative in terms of managing the message and controlling the framing of discourse, either. President Obama has shown that he can be dismissive, sarcastic, and evasive when points are raised that challenge the agenda. He's definitely not perfect!
The point of this post, however, is merely to point out that it is a refreshing change to watch and listen to our President and hear inclusive, respectful, compassionate language and promotion of progressive values instead of the "cowboy" rhetoric of W.
"WE must be the change WE wish to see in the world" - MK Gandhi