Here is today’s headline from CNN: “Does ‘strengthening diplomacy’ warrant Nobel? Americans split” OK, I’ve just about had it with the conservatives in this country. Here’s the real deal, we are a country divided. It is really quite amazing how polarized we are as a nation. Maybe this is caused by our two party system, I don’t know. But I do know that President Bush made matters much worse.
So, Obama gets elected in part because Bush was so bad the majority of Americans realized we needed big “change”. The conservatives are saying he doesn’t deserve this award, because he hasn’t done anything to deserve it. Gee, why is he struggling to get things done…because half the country is fighting against him. Obama’s biggest mistake – in my opinion – has been trying to work with the right and bring the country together. Yes, a noble idea (or should I say ‘Nobel’ idea), but it isn’t going to work, at least not at this time in history.
Sadly, if Obama really wants to accomplish anything, he is going to have to ignore the republicans and work with the house and senate majority. The conservatives are so pissed off right now that they are not going to back Obama on ANYTHING! This has become so obvious that it’s actually laughable. The really crazy right wingers have even said publicly that they want our president to fail. Isn’t that nice!? So, it comes as no surprise that America is split on Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Of course he deserves this honor. Even though half of America disagrees, a vast majority of the World knows that he deserves this award. Why was he given this honor? According to the Nobel committee, Obama was given the prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” To understand this, you need to look beyond Fox News at the rest of the world. In just one year, he has changed the world’s perception of the US from one of arrogance and belligerence toward one of understanding, mutual respect and peace. President Obama has inspired millions around the world with his message of hope and peace; that alone is deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Congratulations President Obama!
I totally agree that the country is needlessly divided, but I’m not sure this is the best example of that. I like Obama a lot, and voted for him, but I think the Nobel Prize is completely premature. Having an inspiring message is great, but seeing how that plays out in practice will be very important. Besides, if his biggest accomplishment is “uniting people,” isn’t that belied by the fact that the country is still completely divided? And if you are thinking on the world-wide scale…well…I think that European presidents are generally over the ga-ga phase, which leaves people like the heads of state in Russia, Iran, China, etc. — the really challenging hearts and minds to win over — who haven’t changed their attitude towards the United States one whit.
Of course, the award also poses strategic problems for Obama. I tend to agree 100% with what Ross Douthat writes in the NYT:
Oh well. I’m still happy for the president, and I wish him well.
When Obama first received this award, it was the right who attacked first, but now there are plenty on the left who also feel like giving the Nobel to Obama was a mistake or at least premature. So ya, in retrospect probably not a good example of the divide, although I’ve heard from no one on the right who thinks he deserved the prize.
I’m definitely in the minority with my support for the Nobel committee. I think it’s important to remember that the Nobel prize is not always given for accomplishments. Obama received this award for renewing hope in the hearts of millions of people, including myself. With his message of peace, he is moving our country away from arrogance and belligerence toward understanding, mutual respect and peace. I don’t think any of the others on the list of possible winners has had this much influence over so many people around the world. The committee also pointed out that this awards should also serve as a “call to action”. These are difficult times and while there are others who deserved this award and arguably more-so than Obama, none of them have as much power to really make a difference on a world wide scale as Obama does as president of the United States. The US can be a leader in worldwide diplomacy and peace, but for the past 8 years, we have only made matters worse in the world. And I do think that the majority of the world let out a huge relieved when Obama won the election.
Also, just the fact that he was elected the first black president of the US, puts him up there with Martin Luther King who also won a Nobel Peace prize. Being the first black president goes a long way toward ending discrimination. Many civil rights leaders have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
I also think it’s sad the way this award, which should be a huge honor has actually turned out to be a problem for Obama. And so I think this unfortunately back-fired for the Nobel committee, which is too bad. But I think time will prove them (and me) right and we may actually see, for the first time in history, someone winning more than one Nobel Peace Prize!
I see what you mean, although I don’t think I would make inspiration the #1 criterion, over accomplishments. First of all, it is hard to appraise the value of “inspiration.” Again, if Obama inspired so many people, why haven’t “politics as usual” changed a whit over the course of the past year? It’s easy for all of us to get dewy-eyed and say “I actually believe in peace now,” but it’s a lot harder to point to any actual progress in terms of, say, the war in Afghanistan or, on a more basic level, American political discourse.
Secondly, I think our best role models are people who suffer personally, even if their influence isn’t as great. The Church just canonized Damien of Molokai, the Belgian missionary priest who tended to the lepers of Hawaii and died of leprosy soon thereafter. His global influence was not wide — at the time of his death it only covered a tiny and forgotten island — but I would say he is a better symbol of peace, a better personal example for people to follow and emulate, than Barack Obama, who has little to show for his testimony to peace than his rhetoric. As my roommate said, Why didn’t they just give the prize to his speechwriters? You could never say, Why didn’t they canonize the religious superior who sent Damien to Hawaii?
I’m not saying Obama isn’t a remarkable thinker or leader in his own right; I’m just saying I would prioritize personal substance over great ideas or influence. Great ideas and world influence can always follow from personal substance, but personal substance doesn’t always follow from great ideas or world influence, and if we are going to make a symbolic statement by handing out a Peace Prize, I think we should be clear about that.