I’m going to step back from my regularly scheduled cynicism and simply savor the profound and deeply inspiring message that Obama offered the world today. Yes, he is a politician, and yes, every word was carefully calibrated with political implications, but my God, what a tremendous blessing to have an American President who would end a speech with words such as this:
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort — a sustained effort — to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward. It’s easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There’s one rule that lies at the heart of every religion — that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples — a belief that isn’t new; that isn’t black or white or brown; that isn’t Christian or Muslim or Jew. It’s a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. It’s a faith in other people, and it’s what brought me here today.
I know, as the pundits are already reminding us, they are ultimately only words. But don’t discount the power of words. After all, don’t all three of these respective religions teach that an entire world was created through the power of the word?
I know, I know, now the real work starts. Tomorrow we’ll have to make the hard decisions in order to make this vision a reality. But for tonight I’m content just to savor the resonance of this particularly exquisite vision…