Friday, October 9, 2009

A partisan post about peace potential (perhaps?)

Scorecard for Nobel Peace Prize for U.S. Presidents:

Republican Party: 1 (Teddy Roosevelt)
Democrat Party: 3* (Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter,** Barack Obama)

*and 4 if we're counting former vice-president Al Gore

**Carter received his in 2002 well after his term of office in the White House; the other presidents received theirs as sitting presidents.

I know there is a lot of talk about why President Obama was granted this prestigious prize so early in his presidency when he has not yet accomplished any major peace effort. The pundits are weighing in and saying it's as much a slap to the former Bush administration as it is to the work that Obama has been laying down even before he took office--a shift in tone and policy. Yet what is also true, which Elie Wiesel on NPR noted this morning, is the symbolic value of a mixed-race (that's my addition) African American man achieving this highest office and what it says for the potential for us to achieve peace in a variety of ways--racially, perhaps, as well as along the lines of ending global antagonisms.

So regardless of what political fallout or benefits may happen following this award, it is pretty remarkable that Obama has received this prize--and really, I do think it's nice to take an optimistic approach--to reward Obama on the promise of peace that we certainly hope his administration will achieve.


Anonymous said...

First, I'll be honest and say I don't particularly care about the Nobel Peace Prize. Ever since I discovered that Irena Sendler lost to Al Gore, I've been a little soured.

That said...while I respect Obama for what he's trying to do, I honestly don't think he deserves the prize. Maybe this is an "A for effort" kinda thing, but I don't feel that it should be given out on such a basis. Similarly, I don't feel one should give a prize to someone for symbolic value just because he's African American (in fact, I think that smacks of tokenism, and sincerely hope it was not a factor).

That said, any claims about it being a slap to the Bush administration are simply sour grapes. There is NO way that Bush deserved the prize, so why does he even enter into this?

Genepool said...

The Nobel Peace Prize has always kinda confounded me. Not terribly difficult, I know. But it reminds me a lot of the Academy Awards. I have no idea who decides who it goes to or what criteria make up the requirements for qualification.

Gandhi was passed by for this Award 5 times.

I have a little trouble taking it seriously and feel that Obama probably won it on a wave of public opinion/popularity. They should have waited until he actually created some peace. Or at least pulled our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have no ill will for the man, I just think this was premature.