So I went to see Obama in the Tiergarten Park with Willi and his two German friends, one of whom is a former speechwriter for the German Defense Department. It was really interesting to hear her take on Obama's speech. She thought it was good, but actually predicted the points he would make like 20 seconds before he made them.
Ok, I love Obama but his speech was disappointing. He didn't seem all that impassioned, and what's worse, he spoke about the history of Berlin using this really patronizing tone. Berlinners are very well-educated and they don't need an American (however handsome and charismatic he may be) to remind them that there was an airlift in 1949. They know that shit.
This made Obama's real mission---to channel JFK with a well-timed Berlin blockbuster that he can use as his "campaign backdrop" as German chancellor Angela Merkel commented--very obvious. Because he was really educating American viewers about German history, and using "the wall" as a metaphor for....I dunno...different walls.
It was a good speech, but it certainly was not a great speech.
It did feel incredible to be there, with over 200,000 people going nuts and wearing all kinds of Obama what-nots. I kind of cried at some point because I really do feel some kind of shift, a new hope. What else could make that many people see one man? And in Europe? I really think the world is excited and ready to support him, which is great.
Here are some interesting things about political events in Berlin:
*Uh, there was no security. Like none.
*People smoke doobies.
*There are beer stands everywhere.
*I only saw one helicopter the whole time we were there.
*There was a "cruising area" nearby.
*People climb on top of lamp posts and trees. And the police don't hassle them. Weird.