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International perspective on inauguration

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Jan. 27, 2009 at 11:06 am with No Comments »
January 27, 2009 11:06 am

We’ve had views of President Barack Obama’s history-making inauguration from Washington, D.C. and Washington state. Pacific Lutheran University student Tricia Johnson sent in this account from Australia, where she is studying now.

People from all over the world gathered together on a scorching Sydney afternoon to witness the United States 44th President, Barack Obama’s inauguration and celebrate his historic move to The White House. The event, held at the Manning Bar on the University of Sydney’s campus, was put on by the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. I was lucky enough to attend this "standing room only" event along with four other students and a professor, all currently studying abroad in Australia from Pacific Lutheran University.

The overwhelming amount of concern this group of people displayed toward the United States current economic status as well as Obama’s move to The White House was apparent even though I was in a foreign country. This tremendous amount of support made me wonder why Australians seem so interested in American politics and its current economic standing, while some Americans cannot even manage to find Australia on a map.

"We [Australians] can relate to the story of the underdog," states Jessica Stansfield, an economics and social science student at the University of Sydney.

The struggle of Australia’s indigenous population is similar to that of African Americans in the United States. Even though both groups have the same rights as all other citizens on paper, they are still socially disadvantaged and discriminated against.

"We’re so much more excited about the inauguration of America’s President than the election of our own Prime Minister which is kind of sad. I think it has to do with American’s standing right now," concludes Stansfield.

After talking to a few locals, I came to the conclusion that citizens of other countries closely follow the politics and current economic standing in the United States because what happens in the United States has a significant impact on what happens in other parts of the world. Before venturing outside of the borders of the United States, I had no idea how much of an impact the decisions we make at home have on the rest of the world.

Since we are trendsetters in the United States, we sometimes take our standing for granted and overlook what is going on in the rest of the world because of the belief that it doesn’t affect us. This experience has opened my eyes to a new way of looking at the world and really made it apparent that Americans need to be more globally considerate when making decisions as well as become more educated about the politics of other countries.

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