The day after the 2004 election I was despondent - couldn't face anyone or develop a coherent thought for the better part of the day. It was bad enough to see the 2000 election stolen. But to think that a slim majority of Americans actually voted to re-elect Bush/Cheney after they'd shown their hand for 4 years was almost more than I could bear. And yes, I was ashamed of my country.
That day just about the only thing that provided me solace was a web site that developed spontaneously called Sorry Everybody. Remember that? Thousands of Americans took pictures of themselves with signs telling the rest of the world that "we're sorry." We knew that a 2nd Bush administration was going to wreck havoc not just here at home, but around the world. The pictures were from people who had tried to stop that from happening - but failed. It was time to apologize. I looked at hundreds of those pictures that expressed exactly how I was feeling and cried my eyes out! Over the course of the next few days, people from around the world responded with messages of their own - accepting our apologies and letting us know how much they appreciated our efforts. It was a moment of global solidarity unlike anything I had seen before.
I thought of that experience today when I looked at a photo spread at Buzzfeed from Benghazi yesterday. The people depicted were attending a rally to reach out to us in the same way we tried to reach out to the world in 2004.
In my own small way today, I want to say to these people that "we hear you!" We know what its like to have your own citizens do something that you don't condone. We're in this thing together - with you.