Friday, October 09, 2009

The President's Peace Prize

I know that Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the Nobel Prize late in their presidencies. Charles Dawes and Al Gore are Vice-Presidents who won the award (and Gore after two terms as VP and a lot of work in environmentalism), and President James Carter was awarded the Prize decades after he left office, but I'm not bothered by President Barack Obama receiving the award so early in his presidency.

I don't doubt President Obama's commitment to peace and I think he has already done a lot to improve our image in the world. He is in a position to push a peace agenda, and this award may be as much for what he can do as for what he has done. This may be encouragement for him to remain true to his values...its not an uncommon strategy, in fact, its a pretty effective way of applying pressure: "Hey Mr. Peace Prize, now you have to do the right thing!"

I think the Nobel Committe was wise to acknowledge what he's done, what he stands for, and to insist that he strive to do all that he can. Plus, its a huge honor for our country, and a reminder that peace is possible and it ought to be one of our highest goals. I'm very pleased with today's announcement.

And anyway, its not as if the President applied for this honor. If a country, a committee, a person, or an organization wants to honor our president, shouldn't we all feel honored as well? We can now say that our country has had 4 presidents and 2 vice-presidents who have been so honored...that ain't too shabby!

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