Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Can I have a Nobel Peace Prize?

Seriously, can I?

Look at me...I'm smart, witty, and most of all so NOT George W. Bush!
So...whaddya say?!?

Well, Obama got one, and I think for the most part the Norwegians really stepped into it this time. When my co-worker informed me that Obama had just recieved the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize the first thing out of my mouth was, "for what?"
My co-workers response, "pfft, you got me...not being Bush?"
He was tongue in cheek of course, but as the day wore on, and the week as well, it became the theme of the MSM..."Win the Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush!"

I'm wondering if they're getting applications for the 2010 awards for the Peace Prize by the other 6.3 billion people on this planet, minus the one of course, for not being George W. Bush?

The thing is that when prestigious ceremonial awards with a rich history of rewarding people for recognizable achievements in the fields of science, medicine, or deeds being used for politicals purposes it cheapens everyone elses awards who won them through sacrifice.

I think that Obama has handled it well, but I also think that the higher road of integrity would have been achieved through handing back the award.
So, if I were the one being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush, this is what I would say.

"Americans, and to our nation's neighbors, ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, allies and enemies I have been awarded a prestigious award from a body who has great expectations of me based on my candidacy speech for the office of President.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you in America for the faith you have placed in me for this awesome responsibility, and have joined me in this endeavor of bring America back to it's moral foundation...a foundation set by our nations founding fathers...that all men are created equal and deserve the respect due them by law and by our mutual agreement.
That being said I must return this award for I have yet to accomplish any of my goals I have set myself for my brief, yet hopefully, eight years of service as President of these United States.
My returning this award is not an act of contempt rather I am fully aware of the honor this award comes with.
No, I do this out of embarrassment in that I personally feel that I cannot accept any honor of such magnitude when I have done nothing to earn it when compared to past recipients who were so honored.
So with humility, and with deep respect to the body of the Nobel Prize commitee, I humbly rescind this award, and ask that you recognize a far more deserving individual than myself.
Thank you, and G-d bless you all.
Good night."

The unfortunate fall out from this accepting of the award for Mr. Obama is that he will now be saddled with expectations that he may never be able to meet.

Not that he doesn't want to meet them, but the reality of politics is the same as the reality of herding a thousand meth hyped kittens through a six inch chute on a thousand acres of carpeted play-land loaded with balls of yarn.
Oh, it can be done, but not in eight years.

Give it back, Mr. Obama, trust me, you'll sleep better.


  1. Couple of thoughts:

    1. Declining would have been a nice, and appropriate, gesture.

    2. Sadly, I think that he would have had as much difficulty with that as acceptance.

    3. Pluto's comment on the last post got me thinking - why HAVE I been so speechless lately. And the bottom line is that I just feel talked out. We've all hashed out our ideas on the subjects of the day; foreign wars, domestic politics, health care, economics. The two sides don't seem to be listening - all they seem to want to do is 1) obey their corporate masters, and 2) score dingy points off each other. The notion of a greater, public good seems as distant as the hoopskirt and the dodo.

    So I think - in my case, at least - I need to just sit and wait and see what the hell is going to happen. Which way are we going as a nation, and are we thinking our way there, or just squishing, amoeba-like, in a sort of acephalic Brownian motion towards whatever shiny-pretty the people who run things want us to want?

  2. Thanks for this post sheer. I'm going to take the opposing view here.

    I think the main problem in the States is that Americans are so far removed from how the rest of the world reacted to Bush and then Obama. Bush was a shock. America's friends around the world saw a side of America that they didn't really believe existed and saw for the first time in many cases that the US could be not a force for good or at least positive development and stability, but something very different.

    If you read the Norwegian Committee's statement it is all about going back to "cooperation" and "shared values" and simply the "hope" of before, something that was in short supply among America's friends abroad from 2003-2008. That is one element.

    The other is that this award is all about aspirations and perhaps providing a bit of support for what is seen as a positive, but embattled force that may be distracted or even replaced if things start going south once again. The Nobel committee made the same type of decision in 1994 in awarding the prize to Arafat, Peres and Rabin who received it more for what they were hopefully yet to achieve in the future rather than what they had done up to that point. Still this award is unique in terms of aspirations, but that is due to the unique position of the US in the world.

    See this award as confidence in America, in our ideals which we used to think our own moral code before they were debased and cynically betrayed by our own domestic enemies. This prize embraces what is still seen in some quarters as America's potential . . . and perhaps also our last chance to fulfill it.

  3. I would have to add my support to what Seydlitz says. It is virtually impossible for those of you living in the States to imagine the sorrow that GWB created in the rest of the world as they suddenly found out that the US could not be counted on as a moral and productive force in the world. Not only did he display what appeared to be limited intelligence, but he was arrogant and clearly indifferent to basic human well being.

    On his watch, unnecessary war was initiated, costing the lives of tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of civilians. For the people of Europe, who have suffered war on their home soil in recent memory, it is not the vainglorious adventure that GWB's wingnut supporters imagine.

    On his watch, millions more lost basic health insurance, something that all other modern countries provide for their people as a normal and expected societal act. His expression of concern for his fellow citizen? "They can always go to the emergency room"!!

    On his watch, American greed and governmental inaction caused a major worldwide recession and economic crisis, as a direct result of his economic philosophies. Citizens of other nations not only suffer the ravages of GWB's war of choice, but his economic ineptitude.

    That this pathetic little man is gone and replaced by someone who embraces what GWB refuted is a ray of hope. Yes, it is sad that this hope springs from the absence of what went before, rather than what is being accomplished now, but what went on during GWB's eight disastrous years was of such a magnitude that any relief seems to have resulted in a wellspring of hope.

    I guess it boils down to the rest of the world being a hell of a lot more disappointed in who we elected that we, as a nation, were, and a hell of a lot sooner.

  4. I think both Seydlitz and Al are right about the way the rest of the world perceives us. But what is the rest of the world going to do when they discover that Washington's policies don't change even though Obama is in the White House?

    NeoCons have essentially hijacked foreign policy, the military (war without end), and the CIA.

    Social conservatives have discovered that they have have been thrown out of office but they still retain the power to mold public opinion to their whim (or at least defeat initiatives that don't cater to the whim).

    Businessmen have discovered that politicians are an excellent investment and are using all that nearly free TARP money to buy them up by the dozen to protect their own interests.

    Americans (especially the liberals) are becoming increasingly unhappy with Obama, although the poor guy really IS doing the best job he can with the tools available in Washington.

    And what will happen when everybody discovers what the conspiracy wing-nuts (I don't quite count myself as one) have known all along, that the guy who lives in the White House and gives the pretty speeches has less control over the course of the country than the average citizen?

    My hopes for the Obama administration turning the clock back to even the Clinton years were low to begin with and have been completely dashed. This will now only end with public acknowledgment of our new political masters (who will NOT be constrained by the Constitution) or in blood (coup or revolution). I'm not sure which I prefer.

  5. Seydlitz and Al,
    I understand your perspective, and completely agree with your viewpoint, however (and really, you knew that however was coming, didn't you!) the rest of the world hasn't seen the worst side of us....yet.
    No, the worst side of us is still a simmering cess-pool of virulent and seething contempt for the rest of the world...and really, about 20% of Americans in the US are keenly aware that the shit has yet to hit the fan, here.
    And if we're all lucky, it won't...the crappy thing about it all is that I don't believe in luck.

  6. Greetings all-

    What I'm doing is describing the European perspective (Al living in Greece sees the same thing) and not necessarily arguing that it is correct, more the nature of "hope" or even the desire to influence - if in a small way - US policy in a positive direction.

    Europeans recognized in Bush what they had seen countless times in their own history: a corrupt and dissipated squanderer in control due solely to family connections. The assumption had been that America was immune to such plagues, but that was a mistake. Bush was rather imo an adequate, if feeble, representative of a corrupt and decadent political elite, in addition to being a modern version of Byzantine Emperor Michael VII.

    The surprise for Europe may be in finding that Obama is a member of the same elite. This goes along with the view Pluto mentions and Chris Hedges lays out in his "Empire of Illusion" which I recommend.

    Btw sheer, William Pfaff seem to agree with you . . .


  7. Sheer-

    Well said. However, (I get to use one too!) I was, and I think Seydlitz was as well, presenting the European view point, not my own. That I understand and agree with what they have concluded so far is pedestrian, as I agree that there is the potential for even more disappointment and sewer slime to come.

    I have been posting little the past month because I keep waiting for a hopeful development to cheer about, and that just doesn't seem to come along. The gang who labeled the Dems as the "Blame America Defeatists" showed their hypocrisy when they cheered Chicago's loss of the Olympic bid in their desire to see Obama lose, no matter what the cost to our country might be. The Right has no love of country, but simply a love of self that uses our country as a tool to fuel that love.

    I read several articles about the quandary that offshore bank using tax evaders faced as a result of the recent leniency period. One was about three offspring who didn't want their father to pay his taxes and avoid jail, as they would have to do the same, and they preferred to take the chance of not being discovered versus paying the tax. Or the lawyers who said that their helping set up such accounts was not a breach of ethics, as they were not sworn before the federal bar! Or the lawyers and financial advisers who want amnesty if their clients turn themselves in and they are involuntarily discovered to have given assistance in illegal transactions as a result. Great country/culture we have, don't we!

    Meanwhile, the followers of the Right's policies (not the small group of beneficiaries) are too stupid to know that their lives have not improved in a couple of decades, while their masters have grown exceedingly wealthier. Their actual disposable income has declined, their schools have declined, they are slowly but surely facing health insurance premiums they cannot afford and so on. At least the serfs knew they were societal dog poo.



  8. I agree with everyone! Actually, WRT Sheer's post itself, I find myself in agreement with Seydlitz and Al in that the award may be considered somewhat appropriate. I initially took Sheer's stance, thinking it was way too early, and besides, exactly what has this bozo really DONE? But then, thinking about aspirations, etc., I concluded that there was no one else deserving, so why not the anti-Bush, the guy who is giving some hope to Americans and to others around the world.

    But mine is a tepid defense. And then I think we all converge. Ain't a one of us real happy with the Obama administration or with the state of the nation. My hopes have been dashed right along with Pluto's; I now fear that the horse that some lying politician called "a thousand points of light" may have irrevocably left the barn.

    Savor what will almost certainly be the last Nobel Peace Prize for an American.

  9. publius,

    I disagree that "no one else was deserving."

    Why not Neda Agha Soltan, the Iranian woman killed in peaceful protest. Awarded posthumously and in solidarity with every other person brave enough to protest, anywhere?

  10. Publius-

    Great comment!


    The Nobel Peace Prize can only be awarded to living persons. At the same time Neda became a very powerful symbol for her people, one who I hope is not forgotten.