Yet the presidential candidate of hope and change is wildly popular there. Newspapers during our trip headlined a poll showing Obama preferred over McCain by 52-15 in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia.
Charisma is part of it, no doubt. My hunch, though, is that the Democrat’s collectivist, internationalist, government-centered message sounds more likeminded to Europeans than the patriotic individualism of his Republican rival. They sense US-EU convergence if Obama wins, and I fear they’re right.
Fear seldom clouds my sunny disposition, but I tremble at the decision our country faces in this election. Europeans have settled. They’ve got daily life in a tidy package cushioned with quasi-socialism and quasi-pacifism at the price of diminished freedom and responsibility, and never mind the eternal truths. Is that what Americans want?
Let’s hope not. America was born of a grander vision. If we settle too, how tragic. A torn and tired world needs the sword of our vigilance and the flame of our idealism. “Duty Free” is fine in airport stores, but lethal in the life of nations. The November outcome will hinge on how we see our duty.