View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

The New York Times is reporting: "In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

He apparently had not even been considered really in the running although he had been nominated. He beat out human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

Congratulations.

But I think for a man who has only been in office less than a year, this is a bit premature. Let him accomplish something - like Theodore Roosevelt's successful peace negotiations between Russia and Japan - or keep up a sustained effort - like Rev. Martin Luther King's years of fighting for civil rights - before handing him such an award.

This just seems another instance of him rising to the top without really doing anything first.

Maybe they are honoring him for NOT being President Bush. I have to admit, much as I disagree with President Obama on some important issues, he certainly comes across as far more competent than his predecessor.

8 Comments:

Anonymous party said...

Unbelievable news..........

7:17 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

When my wife woke up, I told her. Her skeptical response was, "For what?" - and she voted for him!

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I donno... the prize has usually been given for struggling, not for winning: Desmond Tutu hadn't done anything but complain about Apartheid when he won his Prize in 1984. The Guatemalan government was STILL killing off indigenous people even after Rigoberta Menchu was given the prize for her human rights work in 1992, Karl von Ossoisky's 1935 prize (for defending German journalists) earned him a one-way ticket to Dachau.

While in Latin America, we still see the United States as intrusive and imperialialistic, it is now seen as less so... and that -- in itself -- is a major accomplishment.

4:03 AM  
Blogger The Well Done Review said...

I think the prize is not given so much for struggling as it is for complaining...and please, please explain how Barry-O is more competent than Bush? Name one way he is more competent, I assure you that it's all an illusion.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Well Done.. just one?

He's a better speaker and communicator. That's an important skill for a President.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Richrd... your resident alien said...

The (generally very conservative) Times of India sums up their editorial about this award by saying:

"The Nobel committee is a pragmatic body which would like to maximise peace outcomes. It could, of course, have avoided controversy by giving the award to some inconsequential tree-hugging activist somewhere. But crucial matters of environmental safety depend on decisions taken by the American president. The future of the world hinges on men like Obama. By awarding the Peace prize to him, the Nobel committee is in effect telling Obama that the world has certain expectations of him. It's an act of counter-transference designed to negate the 'bad' transference that happens when quasi-divine powers are conferred on the US president. William Shakespeare once wrote that some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Having recognised Obama's potential, could the award be the Nobel committee's way of thrusting greatness upon him?"

The "Times" notes, correctly, that people inside the United States don't pay attention to foreign policy and it doesn't much affect the way people think about the President, but it's hard to deny that Obama's campaign (and election) in itself was seen as hugely positive in its relations with the rest of the planet. Like 1990 prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev, there's no guarantee that Obama will accomplish his goals, nor even that he'll succeed in creating "change".... but that his accession to high office has radically transformed the image of his country for the better.

Or, at least so that Norwegian parliamentary committee seems to think.

5:25 PM  
Blogger The Well Done Review said...

I'm not sure about that, actually

He might sound better, but only when it's scripted...

Obama without a teleprompter is arguably more painful that Georgy Porgy

9:55 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Well Done - compared to Bush II, Obama is a far superior speaker - even with Obama's limitations. I teach English - including speech - and there's no comparison between the two.

Now if you want to compare Obama with Reagan, FDR, or even Clinton, that's a different matter.

7:02 PM  

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