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applejuice Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:00 PM
Original message
Living abroad, what the reaction has been, my experiences...
As a dual US/UK citizen (I grew up in the US, but have lived in Scotland for ten years) I have had a lot of questions from family and friends back in the States as to what the reaction in the UK has been to Obama being elected. Thought I would share a little with DU too:

Most everyone I have spoken to is ecstatic. Bush was widely hated here (from the start), but it seems to be more than a "Glad HE'S going!" feeling. People have been following the primaries from the start and many rooted for Obama early on.

(I only know one person myself who was a McCain fan - and she goes to a "Superchurch" style place of worship here and follows Fundamentalist Christian literature from the USA RELIGIOUSLY (ha ha). She sent me a bunch of email crap about how Obama is a baby killer. I blocked her from my inbox. I have to say she and her type are the exception and not the norm here. That kind of church is not that common here. Most churches have a more liberal socialistic bent - ie caring for social issues like homelessness, third world hunger and AIDS...)

People here have also been super interested in whether I got to vote (I did), how I voted (the practicalities of an absentee ballot) and who I was voting for. I can't remember how many people have asked me about voting over the past couple months, but I have proudly told each and every one I voted for Obama. Many were particularly interested that I am Ohio voter as they all seem to be up on the ideas of "Battleground" and "Swing" states.

When I took my younger son into his Nursery Class on Wednesday morning (there is universal pre-school here, from the age of three) one of the teachers immediately gave me the thumbs up sign. She said to me "I am so pleased that Americans would wait in line for one, two, three - even FOUR hours to vote! I don't think people here in the UK would do that on such a wide scale." She also said "Watching it all you really feel like something big is happening. This is genuine, this is the change that is needed!" I agree with her completely.

As I sat in my living room here in Scotland and watched the results come in I cried. As I watched Barack Obama take the stage in Grant Park I cried. As I listened to his beautiful speech I looked at my little newborn daughter and I felt the world is going to be a better place for my kids to live. Even being in another country - this is going to affect the world.

Not only because of policy changes - it sounds kind of hokey but I felt like something happened to the soul of the United Sates on Tuesday night. It was renewed, it was changed, and it was felt across the ocean and around the world.

For the last eight years I have been sad, angry, frustrated.... I felt that votes had been stolen, I felt like the country had been stolen. Not only was I seeing the country being sent downn the toiler, I was also living in the midst of the rest of the world - who I saw gradually grow more and more angry and resentful toward the US. When I first moved here there was relatively good feeling toward the US, the world economy was good, Clinton was seen as a good leader and also had curried favor due to his role in the agreements in Northern Ireland.

But after Bush took office the feeling gradually got worse and worse and worse. People didn't like him or his insular devisive thinking from the start. People didn't like Iraq, people didn't like the UK being invovled in Iraq. People began to dislike Tony Blair more and more due to his growing friendship with Bush...

And, by human nature the American people were painted with the same brush. Americans were seen as right wing fundamentalists. Americans were seen as insular. Americans were more and more disliked. I told anybody who would listen that we weren't all like that. At least half of us weren't like that!

But on Tuesday the slate seemed to be wiped clean. Overnight we went from being viewed as a right wing country with a joke for a president to something entirely different.

We have hope now. The world feels that hope and I think good things will come from that.

Yes We Did!
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KOBUK Donating Member (103 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
1.  Great read !
Thank you.Scotland is a beautiful country.
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MarthaMyDear Donating Member (446 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
16. Wonderful news from UK! Thanks for posting!
I wasn't sure what the real thoughts were in UK...I get too much of my info from BBC, I think (esp. the "Have Your Say" on BBC website).

I think we will all be so much better off with the change that President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and a united Congress will bring! :)
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SalviaBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you so much for posting!!
I feel the same as you... that something (good) happened to our souls. I feel so much better now.

I'm going to visit my neice in the UK in a few weeks. I'm so happy we can all share in this victory.

Yes We Did!!
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Solomon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. Great post.
Thank you.
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. aw man I had almost made it for 12 hours with out "stuff getting in my eye"
nice
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anakie Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
5. Australian reaction
I wore my Obama t-shirt out the day after the election. Every response I had was positive - he would have won about 85-15 over here.

But almost all I spoke with expressed fears for his safety and thought that someone will take a pop at him.

I am glad the adults are back in charge again.

Peace
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. wonderful. thank you all.
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 08:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
31. Those concerns for his safety are justified.
The U.S. has a horrible record when it comes to the rate at which our greater leaders get assassinated. We're still rather barbaric in that sense.

Thanks for the Aussie response.

Peace. :toast:

The United States is a LIBERAL Country.

:dem:

-Laelth
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The Wielding Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
7. "Bout time ......huh?
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CADEMOCRAT7 Donating Member (557 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thank you so much for your lovely post.
My family in Europe feels the same way. We are coming out of the Dark Ages here in the US, and are moving in to the Renaissance :).
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
9. Bush, sad to was pretty much hated no matter where internationally he traveled...
Obama is breath of fresh air for the world.
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MedleyMisty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 05:27 PM
Response to Original message
10. Someone from the UK on another forum
Edited on Fri Nov-07-08 05:29 PM by sleebarker
is pretty much a neocon and didn't seem very happy with it - and he also thought that he got to tell us that race had nothing to do with it and that the happiness and celebrations were all wrong and for the wrong reasons.

But there are people like that everywhere and I am not painting a whole country in his image.
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applejuice Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. In my experience people like that are not the norm here.
As I said, in the broad range of people I know only one person is like that. The majority are all very pro-Obama.

I live in Scotland though and the Tories (The Conservative Party) are not very popular here. If you look at this listing of the parties in the Scottish Parliment you will see how left-leaning the country is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_...

Parties represented in the Scottish Parliament (in order of number of representatives):

* Scottish National Party (SNP) - centre-left, social democratic, pro-independence- 47 MSPs
* Labour - centre-left, unionist - 46 MSPs
* Conservative - centre-right, conservative, unionist - 17 MSPs
* Liberal Democrat - centre-left, federalist - 16 MSPs
* Scottish Green Party - left-wing, environmentalist, pro-independence - 2 MSPs

Only 17 members of the Scottish Parliment are members of the Conservative party. All the others are all varying degrees of liberal, and disagree on independence/union issues with Scotland (ie - should Scotland go back to being it's own country or remain part of the UK.)
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #10
34. He's unusual here...
we do have a significant right wing (after all the UK did vote for Maggie three times, blech!) but very few people have been pro-Bush or pro-McCain. Everyone I know has been very happy about Obama.
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Ozma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
12. Thanks SO MUCH!
I have been waiting to hear from my UK friends, who were, of course, rooting for Obama from way back.


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WritersBlock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
13. I am seeing the same thing.


(Howdy neighboUr!) :hi:

I got a text just after the election was called (what was it; 3am here?) from my son's flatmate - it said only "YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!" Then the phone rang and it was my 70+ year-old mother-in-law down in England who'd stayed up to watch the election. Her voice was all choked up. The next morning, I was greeted by one of my colleagues with, "Hey, it's an American! We can like them now!" And my next-door neighbor emailed me with congratulations (they'd signed the witness form on my absentee ballot for me and asked if it made them honorary Obama supporters.)












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renate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
33. that's so cool
I'm both touched and embarrassed by how much this election seems to have mattered to the average world citizen... embarrassed because of who our president has been, of course, but touched that people are so ready to welcome us back to civilized society. It's so sweet that your mother-in-law stayed up so late! (And your son's flatmate, too, but kids are crazy that way.)

Thanks for this report!
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Window Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
14. Thank you for sharing this with DU. K/R.
:kick:
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Shanti Mama Donating Member (625 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-07-08 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
15. In Nepal it is very much the same, from many nationalities
I am American but have lived in Kathmandu for 10+ years. The election played out for us first thing on Wednesday morning, America's Tuesday night. That night we had a wonderful celebration party with, I'm guessing, 20-30 nationalities enthusiastically singing and cheering along with us Yanks. The expat community here is largely aid workers (UN, Save the Children, Care, etc) and they are so happy to see Obama as the next leader of the US.
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
17. Thank you for sharing!
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CitizenLeft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
18. thank you so much for this thread!
And thanks and hugs to all our expat friends who added to it! :hi:



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BREMPRO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
19. my sentiments in line with yours and the rest of the sane world.... . Great post!
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
20. Ecstasy in Egypt too.
Edited on Sat Nov-08-08 11:43 AM by onager
I've lived in Egypt for 3 years now. Overall, Egyptians still like Americans and have told me that many times. Usually followed by: "But we don't like your government." What could I say to that? Usually "Get in line. I don't either."

More than once, I've had them ask me why Americans hate all Arab people. Try answering that one in 25 words or less.

My Egyptian co-workers thought it was hilarious that people believed Obama was a Muslim. And I practically had them doubled up with laughter when I told them about the Freeper threads claiming he was a "SECRET Muslim."

They did think it was funny to have an American presidential candidate with the middle name "Hussein." Some of them thought that alone would keep him from winning.

On Wednesday I wore all blue to work. Everybody came up and congratulated me. A few Egyptians (like some Americans) still seemed to have trouble getting their heads around the idea of a black man being President of the USA. That's not such a big deal here, since Egyptians and Arabs in general come in all sorts of different colors.

e.g., we often stop at a village store near my work site. The store owner's two daughters work for him. The older daughter, Asmaa, looks like a "tradiional Arab" with olive skin, dark hair and dark eyes. Her sister Mona has the same coloring, but bright blue eyes. As in, so bright they startle you, especially with her complexion.

It's an interesting place. I feel lucky to live in Alexandria, since I am a big History Geek and Alexandria has plenty of that. Along with a lot less traffic than Cairo. Oh, and the Mediterranean. And it's the most liberal city in Egypt.


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tilsammans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
21. Thank you for posting that!
"And, by human nature the American people were painted with the same brush. Americans were seen as right wing fundamentalists. Americans were seen as insular. Americans were more and more disliked. I told anybody who would listen that we weren't all like that. At least half of us weren't like that!

My experiences as well. I visited London in 2001, one month before 9/11. The people I met, upon learning I was an American, said things like "Who is this man -- your president?" I'd tell them he wasn't MY president, nor was he OUR president in reality, due to a rigged and stolen election. Still, I could sense an undercurrent of mistrust there.

The stories now about the post-election celebrations throughout the world give us all so much hope . . . we're back! The U.S.A. is back!

Gotta go cry more happy tears now. :cry:

:grouphug: :patriot:
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mtnsnake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
22. Hopefully, Obama will restore the honor & dignity to the USA that Bush has taken away
Appreciate you taking the time for this fantastic post of yours :thumbsup:
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
23. I grew up in another country (as a US Citizen)
I know how the world feels about the US. They loved Jackie Kennedy and JFK and Robert Jr. and Carolyne and they loved Bill Clinton and they'll love Barack and Michelle and Malia and Sacha Obama.

And just as importantly, they hate the Bush family and always will.
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kayakjohnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
24. Awesome post. I agree with every word.
I feel like I can go out and see the world again. Had made a fair dent in traveling before all this. And just haven't felt like being hasseled or questioned or worse. Didn't want to look over my shoulder.

Now I feel much better and the next big place on my list is Africa. So now maybe I'll start the research and begin saving for another adventure.

Thanks for your time and effort with this post. Cheers.
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applejuice Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. I had some friends doing some travel just after the 2004 election...
In the UK and Europe. They stuck their Kerry pins all over their backpacks and also bought some patches and sewed then on. The felt it at least showed people that they weren't for Bush themselves.

I also wore a Kerry pin on my jacket for several months after that election. I was so upset after 2004 that I felt like someone had died, like I was grieving or something. I know that sounds over the top, but that's how it was...
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 08:58 PM
Response to Reply #26
32. "after 2004 that I felt like someone had died"
I don't think that's "over the top" at all. My wife and I felt the same way. We were certain the U.S. was headed toward fascism. We vowed that if the Democratic Party didn't take at least one house of Congress in 2006, we were leaving the country. Mercifully, we won both houses of Congress in 2006. Now with President-Elect Obama coming to power, we have genuine hope for the future. I have to agree, though, that the results of the 2004 election were horrifying.

The United States is a LIBERAL Country.

:dem:

-Laelth
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
25. Niiiiiiiice.
K&R
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applejuice Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
27. Thank you EVERYONE for your replies, it is fascinating to hear other...
people share their experiences abroad. :) Thanks for your feedback as well.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
28. My experience in Berlin
This was a month before the election. First week in October, I was taking a taxi to Tegel Airport. My 30-ish male driver spoke better English than my minimal German. He asked me about European cities I'd visited, and then asked if I was from the US or Canada. When I said, US, he slowed the cab down, turned and looked at me and said, "Please be telling me you vote for Obama." I turned my back pack over and said, "Look at this". "This" was my honking big Obama button. He gave me a big smile, saying gut! gut! And then he turned the meter off and gave me a free ride the rest of the way to the airport.

While in Berlin, I took a day trip/Berlin Walks tour to Oranienberg to visit the restored Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. My tour guide was a very well educated American expat who explained the social and political upheaval before and during Hitler's ascendency to power. She described how Berliners were snatched off the streets - no charges, no trials, no information given to family or friends or co-workers. They were just "disappeared". I said softly, "Patriot Act"? And she nodded.

This camp was not originally built to hold Jews, but to hold the intellectuals, professors, artists, writers, editors, etc. who might oppose Hitler's actions. It was only two years later, after Krystalnacht (spelling?) that the first Jewish prisoners were brought there.

I had read very graphic & horrifying descriptions of such camps and what transpired there, but actually taking the same train route from Berlin, walking the same mile and a half path from the old train station, through the same small town, past the same little picture book houses of the town as the prisoners walked, up to the gates of the camp, and then going through the same facilities (restored), seeing the black and white photos of the prisoners taken in the same buildings/locations; the killing pits, the "showers", the ovens, and various other torture/killing arrangements - massive emotional overload. I can't say I was "glad" I went - I just don't know the right descriptive term - it was an education in the depths of evil and depravity to which a government and populace could sink. It's a cautionary, educational lesson every civilized person should have. I thought at the time that 50 years from now, people will be touring Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and reflecting on the barbarity of the US govt. and (some of ) its troops.

On the train ride back to Berlin, she told me that on election night, a lot of the American expat community would be going to an election party at the US Embassy, where traditional US food, soft drinks, etc., were flown in for the occasion.

I'm looking forward to an upcoming trip to Dublin. You cannot overstate the degree of contempt and dislike the Irish have for Bush. And how pathetic that the typical Irish cab driver, waiter, whomever-you-sit-next-to-on-the-streetcar, knows the workings and cast of the American political system better than their dumbed down US counterparts. All the Irish who said to me, how could any Americans be stupid enough to vote for Bush a second time, and/or, "You KNOW he stole both elections!" will be very happy about Obama's election.
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
29. Welcome to DU!
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-08-08 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
30. That's quite reassuring. Thanks for sharing.
Bush did tremendous damage to our standing in the World. I am happy to hear that the damage is not permanent and that the UK, at least, is willing to give us a second chance. As you know, may of us are deeply ashamed by what has been done in our name over the last eight years.

Peace. :toast:

The United States is a LIBERAL Country.

:dem:

-Laelth
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davidpdx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
35. People here in Korea have taken a strong interest in the election
over the past year or so. I'm married to a Korea and get asked things by my family members about Obama and/or the election. Bush is not popular over here (in fact everytime he comes there are major protests). Obama is seen as a new hope for the US to lead the world as an example that we are meant to be.

There was lots of celebrating by expats here last week.
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Zech Marquis The 2nd Donating Member (242 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
36. wow!!!
Tuesday morning I stood in line to vote for 2 hours, and I took alot of photos on my cellphone and sent them to my best friend in Baltimore. I texted her also to "go vote, right now!!" (she had a grad class, but did go vote later that afternoon). Then I did some GOTV canvassing for another 2 hours before spending the rest of the evening at home. My GF--who's from Austria--was following the first projected calls live online--and it was close to 4am her time in Vienna!!! "I really hope Obama wins, I'm praying for your victory..."

So yes, the entire world was watching. Somehow I knew it was going to be a good evening, i just dind't know by how much until everyone else did by 11pm :bounce: And the very nice morning, my gf had the words "yes we can" in her text messages and email to me :-)
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
37. I went to the kiosk to get a beer...
Ahmed gave me a long-stemmed red rose. The Germans supported Obama 89,7%. The euphoria could be heard on the trains, on the streets, in restaurants, bars and city rumble...
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agentS Donating Member (922 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-08 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
38. Same feeling in my neck of the woods
The local TV stations were showing Obama's victory speech and the electoral map for hours after the declaration was made. As late as Saturday they were showing the victory speech replay on the bus terminal TV.

I was asked by many locals what an Obama admin would mean to Korea.
1) Improved economy and improved FTA, although the local President wants it rammed thru before Obama takes office.
2) Improved relations with the North. McCain did say he would obliterate/annihilate them in 1994 or sometime around there. So the prospect of better negotiations with the North means better business for the South.

They seem to like Mrs. Obama's dress more than some of the TV pundits back home do.
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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-12-08 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
39. It's kind of stunning when you see all of these countries that
care about US interests! We just had to have a credible administration. I expect the world to calm down substantially over the next years!!!!
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