Friday, October 16, 2009

A Few Nobel Thoughts

I know it seems like a long time ago now, but it was one week ago that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe you heard that some people were a little upset by that. It all seems so long ago now that a living, breathing Republican has voted for health care reform, but I've still got a couple of things to say about it.

Let me start off by saying that I don't think I would have given the prize to Obama this year were it up to me. That said, here are three thoughts to help keep things in perspective.

1. Obama did not ask for this.
It's not as if Barack Obama was out campaigning to win this award. In fact, it kind of hurts him domestically now that he did win. It seems like there was a lot of anger directed at the president for winning the award even though he didn't do anything other than be who he is and do what he does. Of course, that's often enough these days.

2. Having a liked a respected president used to be a good thing.
The other thing that's gotten lost in all of the outrage over this prize is that winning international recognition isn't a bad thing. It seems like there was a time when patriotic Americans would have been proud to have a president who is so obviously respected by the world community. That's not to say that the critics are unpatriotic, only to point out how far we've fallen.

3. You don't know who won the last Nobel Peace Prize.
Really, you don't. Think about it for a second. Nope, Al Gore was 2007. (To save you the trouble of Googling it, the 2008 winner was Martti Ahtisaari.) The point is, we tend to think of the Nobel Peace Prize as a kind of secular sainthood because of winners like Albert Schweitzer and Martin Luther King Jr., but for the most part we don't really care that much who gets it. If we did, you'd know who Shirin Ebadi is. So let's get over all the outrage because it's not something we actually care about. It's not like he got an Oscar or anything.

The bottom line in my thinking is that this is another over-hyped outrage of the week kind of thing. It's sad we have to deal with stuff like this because, you may have heard, there are real issues out there.

P.S. My favorite line to come out of all the Nobel whining is this: Even ASU has higher standards than the Nobel prize committee. What can I say? It's funny.

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