Obama’s Peace….Both Sides Now?

11 Oct

I’ve been curiously listening, watching and reading news coverage and general opinion about Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. Put me in the “conflicted” camp about whether or not he deserves it—at this point in time. For those who know me, this will be no surprise. I am a ferocious moderate, mainly because I always want to have clear proof before I’m won over to either side. This is an interesting case study for proof, or lack thereof.

On one hand, I admire Obama’s perspective of hope, international cooperation and thoughtful decision-making on tough topics. I don’t agree with those who claim his only skill is oration. I do believe that we deserve a president who is intellectual AND action-oriented. We can both be inspired AND see the fruits of our efforts. I see both qualities in his approach, and I’m willing to give him the time to prove his mettle. When it comes to fixing national problems, instant gratification is not possible. Sorry, far right.

On the other hand, I do think it’s fair to question whether or not mere potential qualifies someone for the award. Just as it’s unrealistic, naive and obviously partisan to criticize President Obama for not getting us out of Iran, Guantanamo Bay, the recession and staggering national debt, it is premature to award him a prize for results not yet achieved. Have we truly moved the needle in terms of the world’s opinion of the U.S.? Too soon to tell. Sorry, far left.

Some have vehemently reacted to the announcement, both ways. The right is vilifying Obama as if he awarded himself the Nobel Peace Prize. I suspect that he was as surprised as everyone else was about the news. The left is responding to neo-con pundits with incredulity, insisting that the right-wing spin-meisters are not paying attention. The left-wing contingency would do well to wipe the stars from their eyes and keep Obama focused on outcomes.

Instead of criticizing Obama for not having done enough, speak up about what he should do. Get off your high-horse and point the way forward. Rather than being blinded by the light, the far left should keep clear outcomes in mind, and hold Obama to meeting them. To the extremes on both sides, who’ve come out in full force to dominate the news coverage on this topic, there’s still much to be learned. Don’t look back to decisions made under previous administrations, Republican or Democrat, and either blame or credit Obama for the problems or the accomplishments. Again, look forward, with solutions in mind, before judging or believing before it’s time.

I don’t believe that true change will happen right away, and I haven’t seen any evidence to prove otherwise. Frankly, it took us eight years to bring down our international reputation. Cowboy politics don’t play well in the global sphere, and we are now paying the price of rebuilding our country’s reputation. Both Republicans and Democrats in D.C. have roles to play for the sake of change. Don’t dig in your heels and prevent it—and don’t just assume that saying it will happen is sure to make it so.

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2 Responses to “Obama’s Peace….Both Sides Now?”

  1. Gene October 14, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    Well said. I agree that the award was premature, but I also understand the international community’s reasons for awarding it. Let’s hope Obama’s legacy proves their wisdom.

    • toknowbetter October 14, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

      Yes, I get it, too. A big part of the response from EVERYONE has been about whether or not he deserved it. When that’s not even the point. The Nobel Committee is going to do whatever they will do, and it’s their business (literally). But the statement made by the award is unmistakable. I respect them for making a very clear point.

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