Home > Politics > Why did Obama Get the Peace Prize?

Why did Obama Get the Peace Prize?

If you haven’t heard, President Barak Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.  A great and nobel, if you will, accomplishment.  However, instead of reveling in the fact that a sitting American President won the coveted award, many of our fellow compatriot commentators are questioning, and even doubting, the choice by the Nobel committee.  Some are saying that he hasn’t accomplished anything deserving of such an honor.  Others are saying it is in recognition of what he intends to do. While still others are saying it is a slap in the face of George W. Bush and his war mongering, anti-social policies.

While none of those three assertions seem to carry any real validity, the latter appears the strongest argument.  Especially in light of the fact that neither Bush,nor anyone in his administration was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Afterall, starting a war that has been deemed unnecessary and unwarranted on any level doesn’t often afford you the opportunity to vie for such an acclamatory honor.

Similarly, should Obama be considered when he plans on ratcheting up the military efforts in Afghanistan?  In fact, on the very morning that he wins the award there are stories circulating that Mr. Obama plans on sending 40,000 additional troops into the conflict.  That doesn’t sound very peace-like.  So, why did Obama Get the Peace Prize?  Simply, because he got elected – which wasn’t so simple, at all.

Four years ago, if you were to ask, the majority of Americans would have been very doubtful that an African-American would have been elected to the highest office in the land during their lifetime.  While I have no problems electing anyone, of any race or religion, deserving of the post, I was among those that doubted that the American public could overcome it’s decades of fear, mistrust, and apprehension of putting someone other than a WASP into the job.  Heck, we’ve only managed to select one Catholic in the 200+ years this country has held presidential elections, no women, and certainly no one of color.  So, the odds of making a Black man President were, in my mind, slim and none.

Yet, Barak Obama was able to wade through centuries of racism and reluctance, overcome the fears and suspicions, and instill hope and faith in an American voting public longing for new and brighter directions.  He was able to draw votes from across the racial, political and economic boundaries that seem to separate and divide us most of the time.  He was able to secure more votes and a broader victory than even the most optimistic pollsters were predicting.   And, since taking office, he has opened dialogues with countries and leaders that haven’t even considered discourse with us in eight or more years.

True, he has yet to accomplish any major goals he has set out for his administration and our country.  He’s not perfect by any means, and is certainly not the “second coming”.  I have taken issue with some of what he has done and proposed in his first 10 months in office.  But, becoming the first minority elected President certainly deserves consideration considering the chasms and divides that he had to bridge and heal in this country in order to achieve such a lofty position.

No matter where you fall in the socio/political/economic spectrum you should feel proud today, and honored that the Nobel committee has recognized our President in such a positive way.  The fact that this will also give him (and as a result, us) so much political cache in international diplomacy and negotiating efforts doesn’t hurt either.  So, please, join me in saying, “Congratulations, Mr. President.  Use it well!”.

  1. October 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Well said. He was chosen more for the direction he wants to take than what he has accomplished. I’m certainly okay with that.

  2. October 10, 2009 at 6:39 am

    Thanks, Gabrielle. At least he has a direction! That is certainly a refreshing change.

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