09 October 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize


Well, I can hear the right wing already screaming about the leftist slant of the Nobel committee. Just like they did when Al Gore won, and Jimmy Carter won. To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, maybe peace has a liberal bias. And I think there is some dismay that Obama won without having a substantive body of work to justify getting the prize. Obama may not be a conventional pick, but there may be some very good reasons for the Nobel committee's choice.

One that comes to mind is the down payment Obama has made in restablishing the USA as an agent of positive change and moral leadership around the world. And he has done it with a great deal of grace and humility. One could argue that just about anyone left of Genghis Kahn could have done this in the wake of Cheney-Bush. There are those who have claimed that Obama is nothing but pretty words and clever rhetoric. I don't believe that is true, I think he is much more than that, but the US and the world needs someone with Obama's ability to inspire us and get us to think about loftier goals.

Another good reason for Obama to get the prize is that he is a living manifestation of the future. The combination of his global outlook, education, and experiences make him the ideal leader to begin building bridges between countries, continents, and creeds. All those things that the Palin-ites were so worried about, those things that supposedly made Obama less American, actually look good to many around the world and indeed to Americans who believe that being a good global citizen is something to be proud of.

And, although I am not sure if this played any role in the committee's choice, there is something to be said about Obama's ability to confront the racial stalemate in the US and the world and help nudge race relations forward into the 21st century.

Whether the issues are domestic or international, or about race, class, religion or economics, he is unafraid to wade into dangerous political waters, find common ground, and just as importantly is unafraid to call things as he sees them. He is not afraid to recognize US failings, but he is also not afraid to let the rest of the world know when they aren't living up to their promises. So he told the US, so he told Europe, so he told the Middle East, so he told Africa.

And finally, this may be the Nobel committe's way reminding Obama how much the world is counting on him.

[Crossposted on Open Sewer.]

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I was *so* proud when I saw the announcement this morning. Great post!

    Lezlie

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  3. Well said. I agree that most will probably take issue with the fact that he has no tangible body of work to show for this award, but the task that he has in front of him is a daunting one and he has stepped into the role with ease. I have respect for the man.

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  4. couldn't agree more.

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  5. I'm thrilled (and rather touched) by this gesture of faith from the international community, but I am concerned about what sort of effect this might have on his attempts to get policy sorted out in the US.

    But his acceptance speech was pitch-perfect. I am still adjusting to this new sensation of having a President that can say proper sentences with, like, sincerity. :P

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  6. Your post echoes some words I heard on NPR - the gist being that a lot of Americans just don't realize what he is doing for our image in the rest of the world, and this prize celebrates that. You wrote so beautifully, Thomas.

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  7. I like Obama a lot, but it does seem like a sort of pre-emptive award. Like 'here's the prize, now go earn it.' No pressure then.
    I wonder how many points he got just for not being George Bush. Hell, I could've done that!

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  8. Thank you all for your comments. I sure wish I remembered who made the first comment. Then maybe I could figure out why they deleted it. Someone had second thoughts?

    I am just glad I was out of the country so I didn't have to hear the television yelling about it for days and days. Bliss.

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  9. Thomas ~ It was me who deleted the first comment. I deleted it because of embarrassing spelling errors due to bad morning proof reading. :-) And now I'm hoping I spelled "embarrassing" right! LOL!

    Lezlie

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  10. Or should that be "It was I"? I'm thinking my proof reading skills are no better now! :-)

    Lezlie

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  11. LOL. Lezlie 'fesses up. I could use a Border Collie today. I am little under the weather and wouldn't mind the company. Or course then I would have to go out in the rain to walk him/her.

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  12. They are good for the company, that's for sure. I hope you feel better soon!

    Lezlie

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