You may remember when 200,000 Germans cheered Obama while he gave a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. While many questioned Obama's bravado in playing the international statesmen even before the election, there is no doubt that many in the world have embraced the president-elect as though he would be their own leader. They warmly predict a sea-change in American foreign policy.
You can see the international interest in the composition of the crowd. French television is interviewing Miss France 2009. Bermudans are shivering beneath a leafless tree, almost delirious in their happiness. I spent most of this past weekend in the emergency room/hospital. The little boy in the next room, whose parents spoke with thick African accents, had flown from London for the inauguration. He was sick with scarlet fever.
Everywhere, the crowds stretch infrastructure to its limits, but no-one feels it more than the doctors and nurses manning the hospitals this weekend. Lines are long. People are far from home, confused, hoping their insurance will cover out-of-state services.
Bush's face flashes briefly on the screen, then pans quicky to Barbara Bush, a less contraversial face for the cameras to focus on. Today, the media are happy to forget their cynicism. They are eager to be pleased.
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