World to America: Welcome Back

Leslie Carlson

(Note: the following message was sent to me last night by my friend Daniel Cohn, Associate Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, Ontario.)

Dear America,

Welcome back.

For the last little while, and please don’t take this the wrong way, you have not seemed like your old self.

We don’t blame you for this. A lot of trauma victims suffer for a long time after the physical scars heal. A lot of trauma victims lash out at anyone around, act paranoid, fall into a selfish streak, feel tired, desolate and generally act in ways which ultimately hurt themselves as much as everyone around them. It’s called depression and it sucks.

If anything, we sort of blame ourselves to a small extent. We, your friends, tried to be there for you. However as time wore on, we got wrapped up in our own issues, and frankly, just go tired of your lousy attitude. Sometimes we wished hopefully that you would snap out of it and that you would return to your old optimistic and thoughtful self. We missed you. We liked your company and really needed you. The way you use to be able to rally everyone to a good cause, when no one else could, made the world a better place. Sometimes we talked hopefully with you. We reminded you of all the past problems you had successfully overcome. We told you that like anyone else who suffers a trauma, there would inevitably be dark days, but that inevitably you would find a way to shake them off. Sometimes during your recovery over the last seven years we were not great friends. We made bad jokes about you and started talking about your decline. Some of us even managed to convince you that things were worse than they really are or ever were.

Tonight though, we saw your old self, the America that knows how to dream and help others to dream also. We saw the America that is not afraid and does not see everyone who is different as a threat.

We see our old friend again. We see how much progress you have made in your recovery. We want to congratulate you and acknowledge your successful struggles against the depression that followed your trauma, and your successful struggles against all the inner demons you inherited.

You ought to be proud of what you have done and hopeful about all the accomplishments you are going to achieve tomorrow.

  • (Show?)

    Dear World, Thanks for the kind words. We've missed you too. We know we've done some pretty stupid things, and hurt a lot of people over the last eight years, but that's going to change. We just lined up a new therapist, and he believes we'll probably begin to show signs of recovery sometime in January. It will be a tough journey, and we hope you will be there to help us along the way, but we PROMISE we'll never go back to our old ways, and we have hope for a brighter future relationship with you, if you'll have us. Much love, America

  • M.S. Bellows, Jr. (unverified)

    A wonderful letter; thank you! For two years now I've held the image of every person on Earth waking up this morning to a TV screen or newspaper with the photo of a black man and the news that America just chose him to be their new President. I've thought that that singular event would go farther to reestablish our standing in the world than four years of policy initiatives would. This sums it up beautifully.

  • AJ526 (unverified)

    Although I would have preferred to see someone more conservative elected, last night was a great sign of how great America truly is. I think that is a cause for Democrats, Republicans, and everyone else to celebrate.

    This historic moment nearly brought tears to my eyes, particularly during McCain's gracious concession speech. I am greatly proud to be an American, and I hope these bi-partisan moments help unite us.

    Although I don't expect to be happy with Pres. Obama's policies, it is my hope that he will continue to inspire Americans particularly the younger generation, and people all over the world, and keep America great.

    And a message from America to the world: America is truly the land where you can hope and dream, where anything is possible and there is no challenge we can not beat.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Tonight though, we saw your old self, the America that knows how to dream and help others to dream also.

    I hate to throw a damper on this love fest, but what we saw on television last night was the same old America - the one with the split personality with the slightly better persona gaining the ascendancy for public consumption. The other slightly-less-than half still bought into the bigotry, selfishness and divisiveness of the conservative camp fronted by McCain and Palin and their campaign mis-managers. The United States took a small step forward for humankind with the election of a bi-racial man, but its other foot remains mired in the social gutter.

  • (Show?)

    Interesting Bill. Personally it was this line that I found problematic:

    "The way you use to be able to rally everyone to a good cause, when no one else could, made the world a better place."

    I just don't believe this is a good description of the U.S. role in world in the 20th century. At certain moments, maybe, but at a whole lot of others, not, or the opposite. I know you agree.

  • (Show?)

    Last night, I dropped about 20 ballots off at Multnomah County elections at five minutes to eight, and drove home to get my husband to go to the party. As I drove through my Rose City Park neighborhood, I didn't need the radio to tell me what was going on: fireworks were lighting up the the rainy night sky.

    As I listened to Obama's acceptance speech, I kept thinking about what a difference this will make to the world. Thanks for sharing this letter from Canada. It made me think about the Sorry Everybody site from 2004. I'm so glad we can hold our heads up this year.

    A huge thanks to the army of volunteers and dedicated staff who registered voters, knocked on doors, made phone calls, fed each other, and never gave up hope. I spent a lot of time at county elections in the past few days, and it was incredibly gratifying to see the first-time voters who didn't quite know what to do, but were determined to make their voices count. Thanks everyone, for what you did.

    I know this doesn't make everything perfect, lots of challenges lie ahead, and we have some disappointments. But I'm going to think about them tomorrow. Today, I just want to be happy.

  • Holly Denver (unverified)

    When the Bush's leave the Whitehouse I wonder if they'll loot and trash the place like the Clintons? Remove the "O" key from all computer keyboards...?

  • (Show?)

    Holly, any sources for that accusation?

    Actually, they seem to be concentrating on trashing the administrative rules for implementing various laws in ways obviously at odds with their intent as well as long term practices and interpretations. Petty toward the people as a whole, rather than the Obamas, though entirely in W's character.

  • gl (unverified)

    World hellow from US YES yes i know last 8 years sucked-my bad.

    Wow, I give you Obama and you give me Sarkozy and Merkel. Also why are you rounding up gypsies.......AGAIN!?!?! Also please stop throwing Bananas on the pitch, really that is very offensive.

    hmm and i was concerned how you viewed me..

  • rw (unverified)


    I do not know your presence. But I appreciate your candor and your compassion. YOU are possibly what made YOUR party "grand".

    Thank you for that.

  • tinker bell (unverified)

    Regarding, "America is truly the land where you can hope and dream, where anything is possible and there is no challenge we can not beat."

    And where chocolate flows from every drinking fountain, and magical sprites rise from every gutter.

  • AJ526 (unverified)

    Thanks, rw :-)

    I truly hope that we can work nicely together, putting hate and divisivness behind us as much as we can, and hopefully President Obama can lead us that direction.

    I also hope that Republicans and others take their loss graciously like McCain, not like some in his crowd with whom I was very disappointed when they booed Pres. Elect Obama.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    What is it about so many people that they they see things in the starkest term - black or white, good or evil - when the truth almost always lies somewhere in between. As comments from the foreign press have indicated the majority of people around the world appear to have joined a modest majority of Americans in being relieved that the impetuous McCain and the know-nothing Palin didn't win, but Obama is no political Messiah come to lead us into the promised land. Add this latest decision to Obama's list of anti-progressive moves.

  • rw (unverified)

    Bill B - I've been harping on that. The absolutist, simple-minded splitting. And the good-hearted mainstream orthodox [check the original meaning of that word] shrug that gets you OUT of making it your business to actually learn about it if you admit you do not know about it.... eh.

  • Sherry Secreast (unverified)

    The world has finally escaped the mental institution of 8 years in captivity.

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