Saturday, October 10, 2009

He's gonna need a bigger shelf.

Well, President Obama already has a Grammy award to display next to his Nobel Peace Prize so that leaves an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony. Possibly also a Golden Globe.

He hasn't won a Pulitzer (yet) but he helped someone win. The 2009 winner, Damon Winter, won the Pulitzer for his photographs of Obama during the presidential campaign.

It will take exactly one SNL appearance to win the best the guest star Emmy; I expect that appearance will happen sometime this season. Perhaps already in the running is one of his late night talk show appearances. So we can almost check that one off.

The Oscar will have to wait until he produces a documentary about his presidential years, sooner if he's the "producer" on a film about his campaign; and the Tony will come for his one-man show in 2016.

How someone wins a Nobel Peace prize based on his intentions or his mission or his philosophy or his popularity or his promises or his eloquence is beyond me. The hubris of his nomination alone astounds me. (The call for nominations went out last September, two months before the presidential election.) Forget about the fact that as of the nomination deadline, he had served .82% of his term according to The Wall Street Journal.

I get it. It's a message from the rest of the world (well, from Norway anyway) to America: thank God you have finally gotten rid of GW Bush, his people and his toxic approach to humankind and given us someone we like for a change.

And that's what wins a Nobel Peace Prize these days? God help us.


Anonymous said...

Firstly, anyone can nominate someone else for the Nobel Peace prize so calling Obama's nomination hubris is harsh. No one knows who nominated him. Obama seemed as surprised as anyone that he won. George W Bush was nominated every year by many people even as he sent in the tanks to Iraq on spurious grounds and ordered the torture of goat herders from Pakistan.

Secondly, from America it's very easy to under-estimate quite how loathed Bush, Cheney and co were by the rest of the world. People really, really hated them and their belligerent, unilateral, thoughtless and cynical foreign and aid policies.

The whole planet heaved a sigh of relief in November 2008. Relief that American foreign policy would be more constructive and less bullying; relief that torture would be stopped and that America would set an example to the rest of the world by adhering to the Geneva Conventions; relief that international aid would not be withheld for reasons only designed to satisfy the domestic religious right-wing; relief that American foreign policy would be driven by practical and thoughtful engagement rather than neocon nation-building.

That relief made the world a more peaceful place. That relief made the world feel like there are opportunities for negotiation and dialogue. God help us indeed that one president could make the next one seem so great he gets a prize.

One should also ask "If not Obama, then who?". Morgan Tsvangirai perhaps? But wouldn't an award to him also be a demonstration of encouragement rather than a recognition of achievement? After all Mugabe is still in power in Zimbabwe and his goons are still beating up people who oppose him.

What about Neda, the woman who was killed protesting the Iranian government? Again, that would be a symbolic gesture of encouragement to the Iranian pro-democracy movement.

Maybe the Uighar dissidents in China? Again, it would be symbolic.

It's rare that you can point to a specific achievement and say THAT action by THAT person contributed to world peace. Jimmy Carter's Camp David accord definitely did - 30 years of peace between Israel and Egypt is quite and achievement. Bill Clinton's brokering of the peace settlement in Northern Ireland merited one in my view (though he didn't get it).

Just as Americans should be disappointed that Chicago lost the Olympics, America should be proud that the President won the prize and proud that the World has such confidence in this nation and confidence still that the USA can make the world a nicer, more peaceful place.

renee said...

Hello - thank you for your comment and the details behind your thinking.

If it's true that the whole planet heaved a sigh of relief in November 2008 - which I'm going to accept at face value although I'm not certain I agree - then my suggestion for the winner of the NPP should have been the people of the United States.

If the idea here is to celebrate what's to come, then award those who started the process.

Thank you again for sharing your feedback.