President Obama may have gone on Jay Leno last night to reach out to the everyday American, but this week the Administration has been quietly reaching out to the rest of the world and, at least ceremonially, starting the U.S. on a path toward rejoining the world community.

This morning the New York Times reports that Obama recorded a video message talking directly to the people of Iran, offering to move the two countries' relationship in a new direction after decades of hostility and mistrust, and 30 years after the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations. 

 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad made waves when he visited New York in 2007 and laughably asserted that there were no gay people in Iran. But while his ongoing persecution of homosexuals is more bark than bite, the Obama Administration has at least moved America's policy into the 21st century. On Wednesday the United States formally endorsed the United Nations resolution that homosexuality should be universally decriminalized, something our evangelical-pandering former President refused to do.

 

And while the United States has lagged behind our peers in climate science, censoring scientists' findings and refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protcol, that might be changing too, at least symbolically. The muzzle is now off our government scientific agencies, and this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a host of other organizations released Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science , a pamphlet explaining the ins and outs of climate science and why it can be so complicated. 

 

Certainly videos, declarations and pamphlets are only first steps. But at least we're walking in the right direction again.