hat tip – lamh32

FromAl Giordano over at The Field

Congratulations, Dude
Posted by Al Giordano
October 9, 2009 at 8:15 am

Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a civilized society, the first and proper response to somebody winning a prize, any prize, is “congratulations, dude.”

But the heads exploding on the US right and the teeth-gnashing on parts of the US left this morning reveal that the United States, although it has made some fast progress of late, does not yet have a civilized society.

Everybody chill. It’s only a prize. And this prize in particular has had some hits (see: King, Martin Luther, 1964) and also some misses (see: Kissinger, Henry: 1973) when it comes to North Americans who have won it.

To those who say, “but, but, but, peace has not been restored to Iraq, Afghanistan or the Middle East, or anywhere else in the world, how can they give it to a guy who hasn’t succeeded at making any peace yet?” I think you have too much reverence for a mere prize. This Nobel is Europe’s way of saying, “thanks, America, for electing this guy and, by doing so, giving us all more maneuvering room to work for peace.”

Prizes go to the winners in this world. Obama got the prize – nominations for Nobel Peace closed ten days after his inauguration – because he won the election and closed a particularly terrible chapter in the United States’ relations with the world. That’s why. And that why isn’t enough for some gringos?

Prizes are also about the self-perpetuation of the prize awarders. They are not given out of altruism, but, rather, self-interest. They don’t pop out of the head of Zeus (or more properly, Odin, in this case). The award to Obama also gives the Nobel committee more relevance in this world. It’s a two-way street.

Let’s look at the Nobel chair’s actual words in awarding the Peace Prize this morning:

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

“For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that ‘Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.’”

See? It’s not about him. It’s about us, and about this hour in history, “the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

Envy is an uncivilized emotion. It has for too long governed much North American political thought and deed on the right as well as on the left. Get over yourselves, both of you. The new guy won the Nobel Peace Prize. Europe doesn’t hate you, gringo, anymore. Congratulations to all of you dudes and dames!

The skinny community organizer kid with the big ears in the White House has motivated your multi-racial youth to drag you, kicking and screaming, into the twenty-first century. Can’t you see why those looking at the United States from the outside in – after so many years of having only feelings of dread and fear over what it might do next to them – might feel a great wave of relief and want to express it in this way?

The Prize is also a challenge to President Obama: Walk your talk. They, too, are trying to organize the President. What could be wrong with that?

Good column, Al.

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