This question should be quite the paradox for opponents of the President. Here they are, nine months into his tenure, demanding their country back and reciting a litany of sins he’s supposedly committed. Now they turn on a dime, and say nine months is entirely too short a time to award him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maybe this award had something to do with the antipathy so many around the world felt toward his predecessor. Maybe the award is being used as an incentive to get President Obama to back up his words with deeds.
Regardless, he deserves congratulations, and Americans should feel a sense of pride that one of our own has won this prestigious award. Sadly, that won’t be the focus. The media here will give lots of time to Obama haters who will denounce the Norwegian Nobel Committee as a nest of ignorant foreigners who don’t understand what Obama has done to undermine the America they know and love. There is very little Barack Obama can do that won’t infuriate his opposition.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 winner of the prize, got it right when he said, “It’s an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all. It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope.” Now his challenge is to make good on that very message. On some levels, he has much work to do. Winning a peace prize while you’re deciding how many more troops to send to Afghanistan is more than a little ironic.
President Obama is only the third sitting US president to win the award, the others being Theodore Roosevelt (1906), and Woodrow Wilson (1919). Both had been in office for much longer than Obama, but this prize ought to be seen as recognition of the change in American attitude his presidency has brought to the international stage. That may not be good enough for some in the blogosphere and on social networking sites. It’s fully half of all trending topics on Twitter. One supposes it’s good news that people are paying attention.
So what does President Obama have to do to convince those doubters that he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize? How about bringing US troops home from Afghanistan with all deliberate speed? How about being the catalyst for worldwide acknowledgement of the threat of global warming, and actually getting something done about it? How about leading the way in an international round of nuclear disarmament?
President Obama’s promise is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. Now he must prove that actions speak louder than words. Think he’s up to the task?