Sunday, October 11, 2009

Can't A Guy Just Enjoy His Nobel Prize In Peace?

So I wrote the above comment on Facebook and as usual a deluge of my Republican friends' responses followed. Most asked what he did to deserve it. I really had to true answer yet. The comment was my usual tongue-in-cheek status updates that takes a political issue and tries to make a joke about it. Not everyone was laughing. So when people started posting on my Facebook page asking what he did to deserve it, I answered truthfully, that I didn't know and they should read the news to find out. A couple of people didn't like my answer, posting "well, excuse me" type of responses. Granted my tone was a little short. I like debating but can't stand all this Obama bashing.

Seriously, people out there are just getting a wee bit outlandish, considering all that America suffered under eight years of Bush. But I had to respond and after a day it hit me why Obama was so different and possibly deserving of this Prize. Time will tell if Obama lives up to the hype and there will be those who never will admit he either succeeded or failed. History will be the judge. In the meantime, below are my thoughts on the subject if you care at all.

I have to apologize. I thought you were being facetious with your comment. Bear with me here while I explain myself.

First, this is a long response. Most people will probably not agree with it. I could be wrong about everything I wrote here but to paraphrase an old song, it's my Facebook page and I'll cry if I want to. So here it goes:

What I mean is that, nobody knows what was going through the minds of the Nobel committee when they gave this honor to Obama, especially since the voting apparently happens in February, meaning less than a month into his presidency they already decided he should get the Peace Prize. I agree that it seems very odd and weirdly anticipatory of them. To see what Obama has accomplished (admittedly even as a Obama supporter, I have to say it’s not very much since he’s been President for less than a year though I give him kudos for the direction he’s been shifting America in since January) you’d have to follow closely in the news of where he’s been and what he’s been doing and what, if anything, he’s gotten done.

That said, I can only speculate on why they gave him the big prize. We are unarguably the most powerful, freest, richest, and greatest country in the world. We have a system that is flawed but works pretty well for what we have to deal with. For the past eight years we had an administration that did what it thought was in the best interest of the United States of America at the expense of the goodwill of most of the rest of the world. It was a mentality that I argue was highly visible satisfying certain very real fears and urges of Americans, but ultimately cost us dearly. We took the eye off the ball and fell from the high moral ground we had been taking.

By 2008 the world blamed us for a devastating war in Iraq, missing opportunities to quell terrorists in Afghanistan, illegal and embarrassing acts of torture, destroying the writ of habeas corpus and degrading the very principles of our own Constitution—what had made this country great and so powerful on the world stage. You can argue the facts but you can’t deny that the rest of the world turned a very dark eye on the United States over the past 7 or 8 years.

What makes this country so great is that, on a dime, we can in fact turn our political course around, which is in fact what we have just done, with no bloodshed, no violence and no subverting of laws. Obama won a clear victory, a mandate, if you will. In the past 8 or 9 months the President has been traveling the world, addressing people, sending his dignitaries out, giving speeches to the Muslim world and the UN with a clear message that the United States wants to be a respected player on the world stage again, not a feared or loathed player and that everyone is expected to do their part and make hard choices. His message is that great things can come if you stand with America and do the work needed to make peace to rebuild communities.

The trust and goodwill that he’s garnered in such a brief time is building political capital in the countries of the world not seen in many, many years. What he does with this goodwill has yet to been seen. Yes, he may fail but he is taking the country on a path to become a mover on the world stage. It’s clear that the Nobel Prize committee feels that by giving Obama this honor they have given a vote of confidence in his administration and the things that they promise to accomplish. It’s also a clear indicator that the world is ready to look to America to lead it out of the many problems plaguing the globe from economics to terrorism to health and human services.

We’ve been given a huge gift by the Nobel Prize committee and we should accept it graciously and humbly. We should see it for what it is, a commitment by a distinguished body that believes that America can be looked up to as an example to the people of the world.

And that’s all I want to say about that.

1 comment:

meryl333 said...

The bashing was uncalled for and I am glad you to hear your thoughts. Again, take the time to listen to Rachel Maddow and you will hear cogent reasons why the prize to Obama was in tune with past awards... and why.