Thursday, November 6, 2008

Notre rêve américan

"Our American Dream" -- That was the headline today in Belgium's Le Soir newspaper's coverage of the US elections (notice that they even have a red and blue, state-by-state map). Europeans are ecstatic about our choice, though, truth to tell, anyone not named George W. Bush would probably have made them happy. Yet some perceptive observers have pointed out that they may be in for a surprise when he turns out to act like the president of the United States after all, not the prime minister of Belgium (where, by the way, they still haven't gotten around to forming a government to replace the one that's apparently not working, though no one really seems to notice). Even some Europeans, like German newspaperman Josef Joffe, are trying to warn their fellow continentals not to expect the US to suddenly cut it's defense budget by 85% and start spending all its time in cafés. In a piece entitled "He's still not a European" (at the bottom of the page) Joffe throws a little cold water on the president-elect's Euro admirers, noting, among other things, that he too may insist they deliver those troops they keep promising for Afghanistan.

Oh, and in yet another stunning revelation, Le Soir reports that Barack Obama has a Belgian ancestor! Well, to the extent that a guy born 240 years before Belgium existed can be called Belgian. But leaving aside petty details like history, Nicolas Martiau was born near Wavre in about 1592 and left very quickly for Virginia, where he married a widow and eventually had a descendant elected president.

Too bad for McCain that this didn't come out sooner.

1 comment:

Pop said...

Maybe the journalists in Europe will wake up when they look at President-elect Obama's first official act. "Change" was the big campaign theme of both parties prior to the election. The theme was even amplified by explanation about how there would be no more of the "last eight years, good ole boy network, atc." So, true to form for elected officials after the election, Obama appoints Clinton's chief of staff as his own! If this is the kind of change we ccontinue to get, we are in for a long four years. My observation is not to be construed as a political statement. The same kind of thing would have happened if McCain had been elected. It's just a comment on the characteristics of elected oficials in the US. Vive Le Roi!