Peace Prize Flap Reading Assignment

I’ve found it a bit disturbing that
some on the Left seem to be ridiculing Obama’s peace prize in a way
that *almost* echoes the Right Wing noise machine. Remember, nobody
campaigns for a Nobel Prize, they sometimes emerge out of nowhere and
are often awarded to *encourage* good works in the future as well as to
reward past performance.

Having
said that, here’s your reading assignment and, yeah, I’m bit late: I
was at a meeting of the procrastinators club and our starting time kept
getting put back. Now where was I? There are two fine pieces at Salon
byJuan Cole andJoan Walsh
that place the whole thing in historical context. Imagine that. Juan
discusses the guidelines handed down by Mr. TNT in his will for the
committee to consider and Joan lobs out this pertinent observation
about past prize winners:

In
recent years the Nobel Peace Prize has more often honored promise and
encouraged progress than it marked concrete, permanent achievements in
the realm of world peace. So the prize went to President Carter’s
ultimately unsuccessful 1978 Middle East peace drive; and to the same
still uncompleted effort by Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. In
1991, Aung San Suu Kyi won the prize in her jail cell, but the point
was to support democracy in Burma (and 18 years later, she is still
under house arrest).Thinking about the Northern Ireland Catholic and
Protestant “Peace Mothers” who won the award in 1976, years before
real peace accords, I suddenly saw Obama’s win as strangely humble, and
personal: One man trying to reverse the bloody tide of recent American
history.

I agree with Joan
wholeheartedly. Candidate Obama was, to some extent, a Rorschach test
onto whom his supporters projected their own beliefs and aspirations.
Some saw him as a pragmatic centrist whereas others saw him as
liberalism incarnate; add in the fact that he’s our first minority
President and that’s a helluva burden to shoulder. This is a country
that’s had only one non-Protestant President, after all.

Obama
is not perfect and has moved more slowly on some things than I would
have liked BUT he’s trying to do the right thing, which is something
that should be encouraged. The Bushies left an unholy mess on so many
fronts that it is IMPOSSIBLE for all those wrongs to be righted in a
mere 9 months. I don’t need to go into chapter and verse on the many
problems inherited by Obama that predate the last 8 years. Remember:
don’t ask, don’t tell was the end result of Bill Clinton’s ill fated
attempt to end the ban on gays in the military. Holy backfire, Batman.

Do I think people should stop heckling the President when they think he needs prodding? Absolutely not: I’venipped at his heels myself. Just don’t expect miracles: he’s only human.


Uh oh, that was Todd with Utopia; perhaps that has some deeper meaning. Nah…

Cross-posted at Adrastos.

7 thoughts on “Peace Prize Flap Reading Assignment

  1. virgotex says:

    Amanda Marcotte did a piece for the Guardian UK yesterday, and I love her summation of the Right’s two-pronged response: 1)Going completely morally outraged batshit because 2)This president, who is essentially a do-nothing nobody, has won this useless, meaningless “prize.”

  2. liprap says:

    Ummmm, it’s not useless and meaningless. If it were, these guys wouldn’t be spending so much time and wasting so much breath on denouncing it as such.
    And if it gets Obama really considering what he’s doing on the world stage AND on the national stage, I think it’ll benefit us all in the long run.

  3. pansypoo says:

    let’s just say, i am savoring.

  4. darrelplant says:

    Yeah, well I still don’t think KIssinger deserved it.

  5. jeffrey says:

    “I find it disturbing that some on the left” actually play into this farcical exercise of Imperial Western so-called democracies papering over their war-as-a-way-of-life existence by awarding each other Orwellian prizes for “peace”.

  6. MapleStreet says:

    Admittedly, I was confused at first as I tend to look on the Nobel as a “lifetime achievement”. At the same time, I celebrated that Obama is one of the few prez-es to receive the prize.
    But a similar argument to the above settled it for me. Namely mentioning a group of Irish ladies fighting for peace.
    Couldn’t agree more with your statement that Obama is only human. In fact, I remember some of the left-wing tinfoil hats proclaiming 4 years ago was that the gameplan was for Bush to screw it up so bad that no one could straighten it out, then loose the election so that a dem would get the blame.
    Bush, McCain/Palin. Somehow it seems much less like a joke.

  7. MapleStreet says:

    BTW – I love how Obama handled the prize. Show of humility. Citing it as an impetus to do the right thing.
    But I can’t understand the latest right-wing desire to have a military mom accept the prize. However, would love it if Obama would think about a certain military mom who protested outside the Bush ranch…

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