"Germany in Need of a Dream" is the headline of John Kornblum's op-ed, that I discussed earlier in: Has Germany Changed to the Worse? The former US ambassador to Germany adds to the mantra that 200,000 young fans of Obama attended his campaign speech in Berlin in 2008:
But as Germans will themselves often tell you: They have forgotten how to dream. Younger Germans feel this lack of inspiration as well. Dreams were what 200,000 of them were waiting to hear when they rallied to hear Barack Obama in Berlin two summers ago.
I was there. The crowd was a mix of all generations, not just young people. Not just fans, who "rallied". A few thousand Obama fans came hours before the speech and were able to stand in the front and smile and cheer into the TV cameras. Not just people in need of dreams came to see the new global superstar. Most folks were just curious, I think.
My atlantic-community.org colleague Ben Heine and I interviewed quite a few attendees after the speech:
Read Ben's article Obama in Europe: Continuity We Can Believe In: "Generally favorable towards Obama, many of the attendees we spoke to during the rally indicated they had come to hear the speech out of curiosity and interest in politics, rather than a specific desire to admire the presidential nominee."
Anyway, is Germany in need of a dream and are Germans waiting to hear dreams, as Kornblum is saying? I tend to disagree, but I agree to the extend that we need to overcome political cynicism and revitalize politics at the grassroots level. This requires much more than a charismatic leader, who would raise suspicions for historical reasons.
Related posts: Germans Learned Nothing from Obama and Campaign Slogan in Germany: "Yes, Weekend". Favorite quote from another post: "Obama might be as popular as Elvis, but even the King couldn¹t wean Germany off of Russian energy." And don't forget to read Nanne's analysis of what Obama said in Berlin: Obama Keeps it Global