Friday, October 9, 2009

Our President - Nobel Peace Prize Winner

In an announcement that apparently surprised practically everyone in the entire world, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced they would honor President Barack Obama as Nobel Peace Prize winner for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

President Obama responded by saying he was "surprised and deeply humbled" by winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Further saying, "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership."

"I will accept this award as a call to action."

Obama said he did not feel he deserves "to be in the company" of past winners.

The Nobel announcement was a stunning decision that comes just eight months into Obama's presidency.

What some other Nobel Peace Prize winners have to say about it:

"He has had a very significant impact. It (his presidency) has changed the temperature and almost everybody feels a little more hopeful about the world." - Desmond Tutu (1984)

"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself." Mohamed ElBaradei (2005)

"In these hard times people who are capable of taking responsibility, who have a vision (of problems), commitment and political will should be supported." Gorbachev (1990)"

And then up pop the nay sayers.


I have never been so weary of politics in my life.

I have always been fairly politically active.

I can remember when people from different parties could discuss political differences.

Aside and apart from politics, I can remember when people were kinder to one another. When we all showed one another respect in our daily interactions with one another.

What on EARTH has happened to us?

Now, people like Rush Limbaugh - NOT an elected official (THANK GOD!) - can become a talking head for an entire political party. News stations can broadcast "news" that is simply not true.

All of this anger surfaces in too many places, too often.

I'm as guilty as anyone else, I'm afraid.

In response to a posting on Facebook this morning that was lambasting Barack Obama, and the Nobel Committee, asking what had Obama done to deserve the prize, I fired off the following response:

"Well. For one thing, he tries awfully hard to start with a grass roots approach of encouraging people right here in our own country to show a little bit of kindness, courtesy and respect to one another. It "could" grow from there IF people would stop thinking the two political parties (both political parties included) would stop acting like they're Junior Varsity sports teams in a pissing contest and get on about the business of actually running the country - you know, the job they were elected to do. Where they're instead getting GREAT health benefits and GREAT retirement plans which will have them set for life while creating a country of homeless, uninsured American citizens. But it's loads more fun to just call the man who was elected as president names and ridicule everything he does and or attempts to do. Of course he hasn't gotten world peace in the short time he's been in office, but he's at least undoing some of the evil the last president did. People around the world don't seem to hate Obama as much as they did Bush. It's only our own citizens who now hate the president."

And then, immediately after posting the above rant (and since that's exactly what it was - a rant, it's a bit garbled and I apologize for that), I happened to glance up and my eyes caught sight of a bumper sticker I have stuck on a filing cabinet in my office. And it gave me pause.

Words are powerful, and I wish we could all remember that. I include myself. I don't have a smidgen of control over what anyone else does, or says, or believes. I need to remember this and just take care of my own actions and my own carelessness with words.

And not only remember the words on this bumper sticker, but live them - - - -

and I'm making a promise to myself, right now, to try to do better - beginning right now.

But. I have also always, my entire life - even as a little girl - spoken up when I've seen injustices being done. I hope I never become so cowed or intimidated by anyone to ever forget a quote I have always lived my life by -

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’


Mary Cunningham said...

Very thoughtful, well-written post. You speak for me! But more eloquently. :>)

Auntie Knickers said...

I agree with Mary. Also want to join "People for Good Habits." What a nice-sounding organization!

Aubrey Hamilton said...

Indeed, what has become of basic kindness and courtesy? And patience! They all still exist but it certainly seems harder to find than it used to be.

Perceptive post.

Linda Pendleton said...

Nice post. I happen to believe that our President deserves this honor because internationally he is bringing respect back to the United States, something that was so lost over the last nearly nine years. He is a visionary and it is men such as him, that can move the world ahead in a search for peace. It matters not that he has only been in office a few short months...he represents light after the darkness our country has suffered under the previous administration.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Kaye. As everyone else said, I miss basic kindness and courtesy. It would be nice to see that expressed by our politicians, instead of the hateful comments so many make (from both parties).

Thank you.

jenny milchman said...

Please may Kaye always speak up against injustice, wrongdoing, and just plain silliness.

One of the things I like about Obama is his sense of humility. I agree with him that--just as his election seemed to me a *harbinger* of a great new era but far from a done deal--the award should be a call to action. I hope that with it he exceeds even the glowing company of those who have come before him.

Vicki Lane said...

People seem to be ruder and more thoughtless on the Internet than almost anywhere else. It's so easy to get riled up and write a reply and hit SEND. I know I've regretted a couple of things I've posted . . .

B.G. Ritts said...

Two quotes that seemed tied to your post and quote:

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"But in the long run - believe me, for I know - the action of the United States will be dictated, not by methodical calculations of profit and loss, but by moral sentiment, and by that gleaming flash of resolve which lifts the hearts of men and nations, and springs from the spiritual foundations of human life itself."
- Winston Churchill, Feb 1941

mybillcrider said...

And yet Rush hates the Dixie Chicks.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thanks for the support, everyone.
If I ever forget to tell you how much it means, someone give me a swift kick. for real!

Nikki - I "think" there was actually only one person responsible for the "people for good habits" movement and he seemed to run out of steam before it took off. This was a couple years ago. (there's probably a very interesting story behind it all that I'm not privy to). But. A few of bumper stickers and a few very, VERY wonderful posters survived. If I can come up with one I'll send it to you - how's that?

BG - I LOVE both those quotes. I was not familiar with the Churchill quote, but have always loved the one by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bill! Speaking of the Dixie Chicks - being the man with his finger on the pulse of American popular culture, you may be the person to know the answer to this! - what is going on with those Dixie Chick women? Are we ever going to hear some more music from them? I love their music and I've been missing them.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

What a great discussion! It has been such a long time coming, this new attitude that kindness and courtesy and positive interactions with people in the world-wide community can affect big changes.

I hope the naysayers would think about what they're doing...actually undermining the strength we hope to achieve in the world.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Here's my personal opinion: the Nobel Peace Prize was presented to our president prematurely, and it will be a burden to him as he evaluates his options for Afghanistan and other terrorist havens. Others who were nominated, such as the female Afghani activist who faced down the Taliban to keep schools and hospitals open, might have been more deserving (at this time) and less politically motivated.

Jen Forbus said...

Beautiful post, Kaye. You already know I'm very pleased to see our President recognized for the huge strides he's made in such a short time in office. There are folks who expect him to snap his fingers and undo all the damage that has been done. Not only over the last nine years but really over the last 30 years. No one could do that. But what he has accomplished is miraculous. He's made an about-face in the way the world perceives our country and that has opened doors for him to do even more. I don't see this man stopping his foreward momentum and I'm thrilled to be alive to witness it. He is a role-model for us all.

mybillcrider said...

The Dixie Chicks never really bounced back from all the turmoil. They haven't had a new album out in several years, and they're not touring. They're on Facebook, so you should become a fan.

JaneCleland said...

Great post, Kay! What gives me pause is that that warning about what it takes for evil to triumph over good is attributed to Edmund Burke who lived in the 18th century... in other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same.