Saturday, October 10

Coming around on Obama's Nobel

I was stunned to wake up yesterday and read BHO has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Here's what I wrote on Facebook:

wow. i like BHO, but i find this pretty shocking. surely there were nominees who were more deserving...

i guess it just goes to show how much the world wants America back as a team player.

can this also be construed as backhanded commentary against GWB?

Furthermore, I commented on a lot of other people's posts that I just couldn't see it and didn't agree.

But a couple different perspectives are bringing me back around.

1. Obama's stunning Nobel win

But this prize isn't about political partisanship inside the U.S. Again, it was a clear signal from an old friend.

As usual, though, America is too obsessed with itself to notice.

2. Obama's Nobel--on second thought

So when you step out of the American perspective, you understand just how much the world appreciates the shift he's accomplished in such a short time--and at such a dangerous time.

We have made amends, and the world replied with "thank you."

Shows you what a nice apology can do--even for the world's sole superpower.


Some grace is called for, though. We've been in this endzone before. No need to act like boors.

3. Christine felt it was a sign of the world's gratitude for our change and I take her opinion seriously :-)

4. A slightly different perspective on the Prize

However, the fact is that there are billions of people in the world (people with different political and cultural baggage than most Americans) who definitely see Obama as a larger than life man of peace -- not because of what he has done or will do but because of who he is and what he represents.

President Obama is a person of color in one of the most powerful positions in the world. To much (most?) of the world this is more encouraging than peace-treaties or development projects for the poor -- as important as those things might be. To the poor of the world our president signals a new era where even a dark-skinned person can get ahead in life. To them that is hope. That is peace!

Americans just don't realize how big a deal this is for the rest of the world.

Might it be that our definition of what constitutes peacemaking is too insular and narrow -- too exclusively Western -- too lacking in shalom?

5. Finally, I liked the opening of Obama's speech. Nice and humble:

Good morning. Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, "Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday!" And then Sasha added, "Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up." So it's good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

If you know me well, you know I hate being wrong, but I feel like I was yesterday, that I kind of over-reacted. Oh well :-)

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