Barack Obama: America's 'First Global' President

Article excerpt

President Barack Obama was born in 1961, which places him at the tail end of the Baby Boom.

He may be 47, but in outlook Obama has much more in common with America's 18- to 29-year-olds, a group I call the First Global Citizens.

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Zogby International polling has consistently found that young adults have more outward-looking and accepting attitudes. Beginning in their teens or earlier, their lives have been wired to their friends and to the whole world. You need look no further than Obama's affinity to his BlackBerry to see that Obama and the First Globals have much in common. But it goes beyond having a smart phone.

Obama has been described by some as post-racial. That description to a large degree fits many in the 18 to 29 set.

One of our Zogby writers was watching the inauguration with his son Matthew, age 20. After hearing one too many times that Obama's election was the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "dream," Matthew snarled at the screen that "King's dream won't be realized until you all stop talking about the fact that Obama is black." The message was clear: Race shouldn't matter.

An August 2008 Zogby Interactive survey found First Globals were more likely than other age group to believe that Sen. John McCain's campaign "was trying to indirectly use race as an issue against Barack Obama." They were also less likely to believe that Obama "wants people to believe that some criticisms of him are based on his race."

Obama has obviously thought a great deal about race--but like the First Globals, though, he acknowledges race but avoids dwelling on it. I anticipate the race issue will diminish as the nation gets more comfortable with Obama as its leader, and as the First Globals are followed by the next wave of young adults, who will be even more accustomed to a multi-racial society.

The signals from Obama could not be clearer that U.S. foreign policy will be more about cooperation than confrontation. …