I wrote three columns about the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday that I declined to post because I figured angry posting is bad. Calmer today. Here’s the first one.
So Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and, to put it simple, people be’ buggin.
A random sampling of my Facebook friends’ status updates tell me as much, at least.
“BARACKSTAR!” one writes.
“Way to lower the bar, Nobel Committee. What’s the opposite of congratulatons?” blares another.
“[T]he Nobel Peace Prize: Awarded by socialists for socialists,” a final one laments. “Sadly it’s not what it once was.”
Wait, so the Nobel Peace Prize is The Simpsons? Or Brett Fav—nevermind.
The truth is, I’m fairly surprised at the announcement, but as usual, the reactions to it probably say more about the respondents than it does about the award. Why would the prize be any different now than it was in the past? What sort of objective standard was there before? Can anyone answer that? Any one my 100+ Facebook friends, that is?
I doubt it. I’m guessing that people’s reactions are in direct proportion to their feelings about Obama. My right-wing friend, who reliably attaches the adjective “socialist” to any Obama policy, is still a die-hard George W. Bush supporter, and one suspects he’s a big fan of the right-wing talk radio and TV circuit that reveled in Obama’s Olympic “failure.” Sadly, he was on his honeymoon at the time, so the world didn’t get to hear his tweets and clucks at the news, so we’ll use one from a Weekly Standard writer:
As a citizen of the world who believes that No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation, I’m glad that the Obama White House’s jingoist rhetoric and attempt to pay back Chicago cronies at the expense of undermining our relationships with our allies failed.
I wonder what the writer, John McCormack, will come up with today, now that the other nations of the world have effectively decided Obama has done anything but attempt to dominate them. Once happy with the world pushback, now McCormack will have to go on the offensive against the world’s love affair with the, yes, BARACKSTAR! There ought be a tornado watch in McCormack’s vicinity as he attempts to untangle himself from his own logic.
At the same time, it does seem to me to be a bit early for President Obama to have won the award—until you realize that he’s been America’s de facto world representative since before he gave a speech to two million Germans before the Brandenburg Gate. Other countries still needed the signatures of Cheney/Bush et. al, but they bought up the Obama “hope” message in bulk. Turns out, they really believed that message, which a majority of Americans did as well. And now some Americans are calling them fools.
One need to look no further than the Olympic decision to know that Barack Obama can’t push other countries around at will. America can lead the world, but the world won’t blindly follow us around. Having failed to snag the games for Chicago, Obama will have hopefully learned his lesson.
A final friend lamented that the Europeans “injected their politics” into the decision. He said it was “gross.” I say it’s probably always been that way, and even if it hasn’t, why is it bad that Europeans like our President? I, among others, chastised George W. Bush for alienating European countries—and now we’re going to complain when they show appreciation for our choices? How does that make any sense?
The Nobel Prize is what it is, and nothing more—a committee of people handing out awards. If you think it’s more important than that, be proud. If you don’t think it’s more important than that, then what’s the big deal?