So everybody’s heard that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, and just like me, the world has responded with a collective, huh?
At first, I was as confused as everyone else. Don’t you have to do something to win the Nobel? I mean, Jimmy Carter got a terrible rap while he was in office, but he worked tirelessly to broker peace in the middle east and sign the SALT II agreements, and he’s set the standard for ex-presidents in terms of activism, diplomacy and humanitarianism. Al Gore got the Prize for elevating the discussion about climate change to an international level. Mother Theresa? Nelson Mandela? Doctors Without Borders? Yeah, I get it.
There have been a lot of people complaining that Obama hasn’t done enough yet, that he’s not completed any of campaign promises, and that he’s no better than the last guy we elected. I don’t agree with that assessment if only because of the willingness he’s shown to talk to people and not just do whatever he wants.
What’s interesting is the viewpoint that we Americans have of ourselves vs. the rest of the world, though. Perhaps this isn’t all about what Obama has done, but more about who he is, and most importantly, who he isn’t. Maybe the Nobel committee looked at what what he’s done so far and seen such a contrast in this administration as opposed to the previous administration that they found cause for celebration. Maybe the tone of the conversation has shifted so dramatically, in the eyes of the rest of the world, that they found cause to reward him, with the unspoken suggestion: You’re doing good so far. Don’t fuck it up.