Saturday, June 06, 2009

Assalamu alaykum

Our new President is a masterful diplomat. Because of his unique personal history -- Kansas, Kenya, Africa, America, Indonesia, Hawaii, skeptical parents, Christian grandparents, Muslim grandparents, father of descendants of slaves -- he has a unique authority when he speaks of non-violence and peace and coming together. His basic moderate temperament and cautiously progressive philosophy, his ability to bring together disparate viewpoints, his respect for honest disagreement, his reaching out to the opposition, all are wonderful changes. His presidency is young and there will be more difficult times. He will make mistakes. There are those who will continue to bitterly oppose him. There will be more terror strikes. The economy is a long way from being righted. Our President's approval ratings will fluctuate and probably be considerably lower come November of 2012. But we are witnessing a transformative Presidency.

I suspect we just might be witnessing greatness.

Here's an evaluation I happened upon by Jonathan Freedland, an Australian writer:
IN AN ancient city, America's still-new President aimed to heal a rift that has endured for decades, if not centuries. Barack Obama stood before a crowd of 3000 in the great hall of Cairo University on Thursday to deliver a speech that demonstrated not only his trademark eloquence, but also the sheer ambition of his purpose — nothing less than bridging the divide between Islam and the West.

"No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust," Obama began, mindful of the expectations that preceded this event. Still, as he has proved, a major address can have a major impact, and there will be few more masterful speeches than this one.
(Read more here.)
If you didn't hear the Cairo speech, read it here.

And read his wonderful D-Day speech here. Listen to an excerpt here.

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