Conventional thinking has me on the side of President Obama in that I, too, “do not feel that [he] deserve[s] to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by [the Nobel Peace Prize].” (... continue reading)
These – the words that he spoke at a press conference earlier today in an attempt to contextualize his surprise award from the Norwegian Nobel Committee – ring true to many of those who must think of folks like Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel and Ralph Bunch (mom got into Vassar writing on his Peace Prize win) as more appropriate fits for the tremendous award. Time has us appreciating the sacrifice and commitment that these once modest and now heroic figures gave, and it seems appropriate that they be celebrated as peace men and women of history. But Obama is present tense, no disrespect to the vision of past winners; we can’t see his peace genius yet. To be sure, peace requires much more heavy lifting than we’ve seen of our 9-month-old President. Certainly a prize for peace is more than the flavor, slick talk and reasoned perspectives that Obama has splashed across the globe.
And then there is the inevitable, easily digestible, pop-culture argument – because, honestly, many of us would struggle to name a Nobel Laureate beyond the great MLK – President Obama ain’t no Martin Luther King, Jr. And indeed he is not. King was an agitator for social justice who made possible the likes of Obama. But then some may argue that King was no Mohandas Ghandi, who was nominated three times but never awarded the Nobel honor.
To bicker about the award is silly, really; it is symbolic and, ideally, is beyond personality. We want peace.
Conventional thinking be dashed. Just chunk the deuce ... and congratulations, Mr. President. We deserve it.