Nobel Noise


I debated commenting on this. There are people on both sides of the political divide who feel quite strongly one way or the other. I was surprised when I woke to the news that Barack Obama was this year’s recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I didn’t say that I was upset about it, just surprised. I don’t know who the other nominees were. For that matter, I don’t know who I would have nominated if I had a vote.
The Nobel Prize Internet Archive has a list of Peace Prize winners from 1901 to 2009.

Scanning the list, you’ll see the names you would expect to see. There’s Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu. A name glaringly absent, in my opinion, is Ghandi. How can that be? A winner that probably drew more gasps than our president’s has was Yassir Arafat. The first U.S. President to win it was Theodore Roosevelt, in 1906 for drawing up the peace treaty between Russia and Japan. This is the third time a U.S. President has received it. The second while in office. Jimmy Carter was the recipient in 2002, 22 years after he was president.

Evidently, the nominations took place in February, less than a month after inauguration day. Seems a little premature to me. I’m hoping that during his tenure in the White House, he will do much to merit the prize. No individual has ever won it twice. (The Red Cross has been awarded twice, during both World Wars)

What puzzles me is the gnashing of teeth that’s been going on in the political Red Zones. You would think that the prize had been given to Bin Laden, or to Hugo Chavez. The Blue guys have been a little defensive, quick to champion the choice, pointing out all the reasons why it was justified. People, people, let’s take a deep breath. Everybody seems to be taking this thing way too personal.

Facebook has been awash with “Does he Deserve it?” polls. I’ve boycotted those. I can’t give a yes or no. I haven’t seen any with an “I don’t know/care” option. It all boils down to this: It’s not my call. The Nobel people can give their prizes to whomever they choose. The only way it would truly affect my life would be if they gave it to me.

Should he? Shouldn’t he? Some are suggesting he decline it. (That would be disrespectful) Maybe he got the award simply because they like him. Having people around the world liking the U.S. President isn’t a bad thing. It’s been a while. Perhaps they look at it as a preemptive strike. What world leader who was the owner of a Nobel Peace Prize could ever declare war on anyone.

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