Travelling outside of the US post-W is like accidently stumbling upon a Canadian passport. Going to other countries from 2000-2008 was F’N horrible. French tourists would try to engage me in politics in broken Frenglish. Scandanavian folks would just stare me down. Canadians travelled (and still do) with giant red maple leaves on their bags like it was a force field protecting them from Al Qaeda. Even my own German uncle gave me shit. I wanted to wear a “I didn’t vote for Bush” button on my forehead.
But that was during the George W. years. This is a whole new era. If Obama doesn’t do anything else, he has already done one amazing thing. He’s changed the perception of Americans worldwide. Now in Europe, I’m seeing “Dreams of My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” in trains like it’s another Harry Potter release. They have Obama shirts for sale in tourist shops and his autobiographies are on their bestseller lists. And the high fives I’ve been getting are always nice.