President Obama was speaking in Cairo at 6 am EDT this morning, so I didn't watch the speech live. I was still asleep. By the time I was sipping my first cup of coffee at around 7:30 am though, the speech was over and the President's crack communications team had posted it on the internet in several places and translated it into a dozen languages.
I could tell watching videos and TV talking heads, as I let caffeine revive my sleep- soaked brain, that Obama had knocked it out of the park once again. It was another home run for my President. Thank God we have a man like this at the helm right now.
This was more than a great speech. It was a rhetorical tour de force that will be remembered and talked about for generations. Where it stacks up for the rest of the world, I don't know, but for me, as an American, it ranks right up there with the Gettysburg Address or JFK's innaugural speech or MLK's" I have a dream speech
This was a speech that really moved people. It did not mince words or prevaricate or minimize very real, perhaps insoluable, political problems. It defined a moment in time with honesty, passion, and an intelligent understanding of the issues confronting both the West and the Muslim world. It did not patronize or threaten. It simply stated what is. A speech isn't going to solve all the problems. But this speech totally changed the nature of the engagement. It was a tipping point. Now we will at least talk to each other instead of shouting at one another and swaggering about Texas style.
The really important thing that Obama did in this speech was what he, as a multicultural person who has so often felt ouside the mainstream personally, does so well. He emphasized the humanity we all share, the similarity of what we all desire for ourselves and our children, the common roots our religions have and the respect we owe one another. Bravo Obama.
Sometimes the pen really is mighter than the sword and this morning was definitely one of those times.