09 October 2009

President Obama: Nobel Laureate

I have been trying to read up on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize because while I think its great that our President has won such a prestigious international award I'm a little worried about the repercussions.  

A lot of people are speculating that a part of the reason that Obama has received this award was because of the comparison between his work in the international arena and that of the previous administration.  I don't want the Prize to be awarded as an insult to the Bush Administration, I want it to be awarded because of what has been accomplished.  
Which brings me to the second concern, what has been accomplished.  While I agree that Obama has done more to better international relations in his 9 months as President than seemed to happen in Bush's term in office, he really has only been in office 9 months.  And for those of you who are arguing that he did so much before he entered office I will agree with you there as well, but he has not yet dedicated his life to creating peace in this world as many previous and potential candidates have done.  
This brings me to the concern.   I read that approximately 73% of Americans are saying that Obama doesn't deserve to have won this prize.  Now, a large number of people are probably saying that because of the anger many Americans feel about the state of our economy.  I've met many people who are upset because they feel that Obama has been ignoring his responsibilities at home.  There are also people who believe he hasn't done enough to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize (I'm still on the fence because it is so early in his career) and that giving him the Prize is undermining the work of other Nobel Peace Prize candidates.  
However, my biggest concern is that now that President Obama has won an award himself and his administration will feel that they have done enough on the world stage and will begin to shirk their duties in the international peace arena.   While I have read some of his comments about how he is determined to continue to work hard I am worried that this will not happen.  Now, I am not saying that the President is not a man of his word, I am saying that there are many issues faced by someone in his position and that after winning a huge international award for peace that his advisors may feel that his hard work in that field is no longer necessary and shift his focus away from things that he could potentially affect and benefit greatly.  Look for example, at Al Gore, I feel that he has fallen out of the public eye quite a bit since he won the Nobel Peace Prize and while I know that he is still doing great work because I have heard little I know that the general public has as well and many would assume that he simply stopped his work upon the receipt of the prize.  

I hope that I am wrong to raise this concern.  I hope that the President and the rest of the Nation will be twice as enthusiastic because of this Nobel Prize and that his work will be so great that his work will earn him the prize 10-times over during his career as our President.   
I also want to see this belief that he has one the prize simply as a rebuke of the Bush administration disappear.  If I were President Obama a part of me would almost be disappointed.  It's as if the prize has been tainted.  No one wants to win a prize because their predecessor's mistakes.  I want this to be viewed as something that he deserves because of his work and not because he is "fixing the mistakes" of a previous administration.  I want to see this prize appreciated not only by the President but by the nation who gave him the ability to do what he has done.  And most importantly I want to see all of the work that has happened continue with even more fervor because it is time for the United States to move away from being seen as an aggressor and having the chance to move into a role as a member of a peaceful world. 

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