Second Honeymoon

In my (admittedly somewhat limited) experience, sometimes, once the bloom begins to fade from a new relationship, it can be easy to feel…well, maybe a little disappointed. You and your co-relationship person might disagree on something, or they disappoint you somehow, and you just feel the magic seeping away. When you’re lucky, you and your relationship can catch a second wind: you can fall into that second honeymoon, get all impressed all over again, and remember why you felt as strongly as you did.

So with that clunky metaphor of an introduction—did you see or hear or read President Obama’s speech in Cairo? I know, it’s really long, but if you haven’t taken a moment (hour) to listen in, I strongly suggest you do. At least take in the highlights. A new day has dawned, and you don’t want to be left behind.

If you haven’t heard the speech, let me just say this—it’s a shocker. President Obama hits point after point of foreign policy common sense that no one in her right mind ever expected to hear from a politician’s mouth. Israel must abandon settlements; Palestinians must abandon violence. We helped overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953. The Holocaust, 9/11 and torture by American forces are all facts for the record, not up for debate nor subject to semantic contortions. (Speaking of semantics, our president’s Arabic accent is just lovely.) Obama also made a powerful declaration of women’s rights, during which you could see Secretary Clinton looking on. The whole moment was extremely profound.

For everyone who waded through the stinking piles of hateful and xenophobic fear-mongering during the election season (“He’s a Muslim, which means he’s a terrorist!”) and hoped and prayed for the lunacy to stop—it’s not a done deal, but what a start. The speech ended with wise words from the Quran, the Talmud and the New Testament, reminding us all that religion can bring us together, too.

–Mel Weiss