View From The Middle
Like just about everybody else, I was stunned by the announcement last week that President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize this year; a year that hadn’t yet entailed a full 365 days into his term of office as leader of the most powerful country in the world; the office that, essentially, can determine the future of, well, mankind. Don’t fool yourself. When it comes right down to the basics, it’s that big a job with that much responsibility.
My first emotion was to laugh, I suppose. For what? I thought. The Nobel Prize, for any application, whether medicine, science, chemistry or physics, is supposed to be for ACHIEVEMENT, not just for being a good speaker. Eloquence you can find in any country, even those run by despots and tyrants and dictators with no understanding of humanity.
But this award is supposed to be bestowed for the sum of advancements a person has done for a successful outcome. Mentally chuckling and scoffing at what the team of Norwegians who were in charge of bestowing the honor; the honor that had been given to Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Mahatma Ghandi and other peacemakers, I had to ask: What were they thinking?
I wasn’t alone. Pundits from everywhere were trying to rationalize the validity of handing this most prestigious prize of all to a relative neophyte in world politics. The scoffing indeed came from the liberal left as well as the conservatives, with those bent on trying to trounce him politically being joined by those who would be saying to themselves — “What?” — while hypocritically congratulating the honoree.
Oh, there were Peace Prizes given that might be considered a mistake. I mean, you don’t really want to put President Obama in the same folder as Yassir Arafat, do you? And if you do, hell, you probably would have to live on the other side of the world.
And that’s one of the reasons I’ve stopped scoffing!
The Nobel Prize is decidedly an honor presented and shared by many Americans for many endeavors. Giving this to Obama is something that does not come easy. When it comes down to it, choosing the right man or woman has to mean something regarding the award itself. I won’t go into its history except to say that it hasn’t always been presented for specific achievements, but for funneling those particular efforts toward that end. Many of the pundits, etc. point out the attempt at forming the League of Nations after World War I, when President Wilson established that Grande unit — which failed — to the point that the United States never became a member.
Yes, we’re still scoffing at the choice this time. But remember that to those countries that watch Obama go from place to place to, if not heal, at least try to assuage tempers, he has become a semi-hero. Who else has stuck his neck out to volunteer to talk with despots, for no other reason than to show we’re willing to talk; to try to make conversation?
Alfred Nobel set out to not only award those who brought peace to our scrambled, probablyundeserving world, but to those who dared to find a way of development to that end.
Does he deserve the Nobel Peace Prize now? I’m still trying to come up with an answer myself. And I want those who immediately protested the decision to stop and think about it too. Obama hasn’t changed the world — yet. But he has commanded respect; something we’ve lacked for far too long.