Friday, October 9, 2009

2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Barack Obama

It was announced today that President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. For an international body to award him such a prestigious honor says a lot. It shows me that on the international scene, the civilized world truly does respect and admire the man's intentions on how he is working to change diplomacy. And for the Black community, it will inevitably be compared and mentioned in conversation with Martin Luther King Jr winning the award in 1963, which brings joy about how far the race has progressed. But at the same time, I can't help but think, don't you have to wait til he puts his intentions in the done column first? I have tremendous confidence that Obama truly does plan on reforming health care, improving education, and make progress on our energy dependencies. Similarly, I also believe that his globally diplomatic issues truly do include closing Guantanamo Bay, getting soldiers home from Iraq, and trying to make progress towards co-existence between the Israelis and Palestinians. However, he hasn't done it yet. I'm only speculating from a non-politician's perspective, but I believe there is an amazing amount of red tape that he is dealing with to get these things done. A million small considerations and obstacles that we wouldn't think were necessary. I'm getting tired of Congress finding reasons to shoot down his health care reform and I don't deal with it every day, so I know it's dominating his time and efforts. Part of the reason I do not like politics is all the extra (trying to coerce allies, trade support on issues, etc.) that has to be done to get meaningful work finished. These things don't happen in any timely fashion and everything is harder than it looks. So, I'm still firmly in Obama's corner and I believe that he will do as much to make good on his campaign promises as Congress and whoever else allows him to. But give the man a chance to do it. He's already become a very polarizing figure, people either love him and what he is trying to do, or they hate him and use hyperbolic insults to paint him as a phony. So although he must be honored to win such an award, he probably understands that this adds even more pressure to make sure that the things he advertised happen. He's gotten the award off effort to this point. In the end, with a president, effort means a lot, but he will ultimately be judged by what ACTUALLY gets done rather than what he tries to get done.

I think if the late MLK could talk to Obama about this award, he would say "Congratulations. Take the award in stride, but don't ever take your eyes off the prize. Never take anything for granted. This opportunity will mean little for our people if you do not achieve what you said you would and what you are capable of." I agree. I would not at all call the award undeserved the way many have in articles today, I'd call it premature. I'm hopeful that his body of work will warrant more Nobel Prizes when he pushes things all the way through. He should keep working, and I'ma just keep hoping.....

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