A Citizen of the World

Steve M. has beaten me to commenting on one item I was thinking about blogging about over at The Carpetbagger Report so I will keep this brief. John McCain was critical of Barack Obama’s statement in his speech in Germany where he referred to himself as a citizen of the world. As Steve M. points out, George Bush has used the phrase “citizen of the world” in a favorable context, and he is not alone in doing so. Even Ronald Reagan has done so.

While Steve has handled this issue well, there are two points I’d like to add. The implication in many of the attacks on Obama from the right over this is that being a citizen of the world means he is somehow not a loyal American. They tend to ignore the fact that Obama said, “I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.” I bet not many right wingers will repeat Obama’s statement of being “a proud citizen of the United states.” That won’t fit in well with the meme that he is really a Muslim terrorist and a Manchurian candidate.

While many liberal bloggers have defended Obama, I most enjoyed a defense of Obama on this point from a libertarian blogger. (Unfortunately he weakened his post by making a derogatory comment on John Kerry’s reference to a “global test” which was twisted to mean something quite different from what was intended.) David Weigle of Reason wrote:

He declared himself a citizen of the U.S. and the world, smart guys. Is John McCain not a citizen of the world? When his map reaches the Atlantic Ocean, does it turn white and read “Here There Be Dragons”?

Perhaps. My fear is that McCain’s map of the world is made up of lots of places marked “places to bomb.” That includes a huge arrow pointed at Iran.

(Cross posted at The Carpetbagger Report)

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    Brad Blackstone says:

    How can any person profess to be, as many Americans see in their president, “the leader of the ‘free world'” and not be at the same time a citizen of that world?

    Mr. Obama articulated in this speech values that should simply be considered basic for leadership by any conscientious citizen concerned by the affairs of our time. And it seems he has proven himself intellectually able, at the very least, to imagine the scope of the challenges that face a true leader of the 21st century.

    McCain, even in his most recent public statements, has shown again that he is a man imprisoned by the values of a different time, one whose narrow dimensions cloud his vision and make his judgements questionable.

    Let’s hope there are enough citizens of the world living in America to recognize the difference between the two men (and let us ensure that the election this November can be a fair one).

  2. 2
    Brad Blackstone says:

    How can any person profess to be, as many Americans see in their president, “the leader of the ‘free world'” and not be at the same time a citizen of that world?

    Mr. Obama articulated in this speech values that should simply be considered basic for leadership by any conscientious citizen concerned by the affairs of our time. And it seems he has proven himself intellectually able, at the very least, to imagine the scope of the challenges that face a true leader of the 21st century. McCain, even in his most recent public statements, has shown again that he is a man imprisoned by the values of a different time, one whose narrow dimensions cloud his vision and make his judgments questionable.

    Let’s hope there are enough citizens of the world living in America to recognize the difference between the two men (and let us ensure that the election this November can be a fair one).

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