Obama and the Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize has been given to two sitting presidents – one for settling a major conflict and the other for creating the League of Nations. This morning Barack Obama became the third laureate “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

My first reaction was surprise. That’s not unreasonable, as even the White House admitted a bit of shock. I thought to myself, “he’s been in office less than a year and he hasn’t actually accomplished anything of importance.” But then I remembered that it is, in fact, Barack Obama we are speaking of. Then I thought “you know, they gave one to Gore too… for the global warming movie, and that didn’t have anything to do with peace.” Then I hear about Jimmy Carter getting it back in 2002. So at this point I’m realizing that this prestigious medal is apparently a political endorsement – the official mantle of progressivism in the west.

Whatever the case, it seems to me that the prize has gradually lost its honor, and today it was made a punchline.

Now, let’s be honest. While it’s nice to have the President of the United States presented with something like this, many of us have a right to be irritated. First, because he really hasn’t done anything. You can say he’s a nice guy, that he’s the first black president or that he’s trying to make this a better world… but every president is trying to make this a better world. And trying doesn’t really count for much unless there are visible results. The black president premise is just silly – if it speaks for anything it speaks for the progress of American attitudes, not one man’s accomplishments.

The second reason to be irritated follows from the first. This man, Barack Hussein Obama, ever since he came on the scene, has been showered with praise and credit from Hollywood to Bollywood and everywhere in between, for all sorts of things, regardless of how little he has to show for it and the very few, if any, actual results. It’s like the guy on the football team who can’t throw a pass for his life, but he looks so darn good in his uniform that everyone in the stands is holding signs with his name on them, and the coach just keeps putting him in the game, while blaming losses on the other players.

But even beyond those things, what really bothers me is that there are so many other people who have made significant strides toward a more peaceful world who just got dissed. The Nobel nominators could have made famous people like Jessica Kackley from Kiza.org, who developed a loan program so people in developed countries could help third-world entrepreneurs start businesses, or Blake Mycoskie, who started “TOMS” shoes – a company that gives away a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair that is sold. Now, these efforts aren’t exactly changing the face of the earth, and they’re not specifically geared toward peace, but they are making a difference in the quality of life in less developed nations through creative means, which leads to less poverty and more stability, and that deserves some credit. Surely there are plenty of people out there doing things like this that are geared toward peace, specifically.

Having said that, I have to offer a critique to many conservatives that have pointed out the irony of the fact that Obama is currently overseeing wars in two nations, and that he was meeting with advisers today about sending more troops. I’ve heard this used several times to infer that Obama really isn’t a good candidate for peacemaking. If you have made that statement please slap yourself. We know that the current fight against terrorism is a war of necessity (as all wars should be) that is a means toward peace. The idea that the presence of conflict indicates a lack of peace-seeking is ridiculous, and we shouldn’t try to turn that around on Obama just because it’s his turn to do the explaining. It is kind of funny though, listening to him navigate around some of his far-left supporters who thought he was going to walk in and demand an end to all war. Sorry folks, eternal social harmony cannot be reached by executive order.

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