Appreciating a president who relies on faith, prayer
  • No power but peace through the storm
  • Young leaders blossom, inspire hope
  • " />
    Soul Rythem

    Hope matters when the prize is peace

    I cannot let the moment pass any longer and not say congratulations to President Obama for winning the  2009 Nobel Peace Prize. I was stunned when saw the ticker run across the CNN early morning show. Then I searched other news stations and the Internet to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. The Nobel Peace Prize? President Obama? For what?

    I had already started writing  a blog  for today on how my good intentions weren’t good enough and started to fold the news into that some kind of way. But following an interruption to take a walk, I returned to Obama and the Peace Prize. Why not became my question.  What some in this country see as just  grand promises that the president has yet to fulfill in his 9-month tenure, others around the world see as commitment from  a leader who is striving to change  America’s international relationships and build new roads to peace among the nations and peoples. Words too many Americans deem empty have  filled others elsewhere with hope.

    President Obama in Ghana

    President Obama in Ghana

    The president, one of only three  sitting U.S. presidents to receive the honor and the first in 90 years, was awarded the prestigious prize for his initiatives to improve international diplomacy, eliminate nuclear weapons, ease tensions with the Muslim world and promote cooperation instead of unilateralism.  The prize award is so surprising because  Obama  barely has scratched the surface of  this work, including what to do about America’s involvement in two on-going wars. Yet the Norwegian Nobel Committee felt strongly enough about what they had seen and heard so far from this U.S. president to want to encourage him along.  

     Here in the United States, we  paint a picture of a president who is mired in policy and politics, whose elegant words fall short of  their soaring promise. In the broader world, many others see a leader whose visions for a new world signal hope. Hope matters, particularly when the present is filled with so many problems that seem intractable and when the actions and rhetoric of past leaders have alienated so many other nations.  Am I being naive here? Probably.  Is the Nobel committee playing politics in some way, trying to manipulate a player on the world stage? Maybe, maybe not. There are far sharper political minds than mine pontificating on those topics. 

    But I do see a group of global people who decided to shake up the status quo in the same way that an overwhelming majority of Americans did little more than a year ago — all in the name of hope.  A paradigm shift remains in effect not just in our country but throughout the world. 

    “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said in announcing the award. “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

     The commitee indicated they wanted to encourage President Obama to continue along this path of international diplomacy. “We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future,” committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland. “We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do.”

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, remarked, “It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama’s message of hope.”

    President Obama, who did not seek the prize, said he was “both surprised and deeply humbled.”   He even said he didn’t deserve it.  He  did not view the Nobel Peace Prize as a “a recognition of my own accomplishments,” he said a White House press conference this morning, but “a call to action.” 

    “To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace,” the president said.

    “But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build — a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents.  And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.  And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action — a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”

    The question of whether President Obama deserve to have won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was being asked and answered today in homes, workplaces, restaurants and on website polls. Of course, he also have his critics who believe he does not deserve any recognition for anything. So be it.

    However,  the Nobel committee answered that query for us. We just have to decide if we as a country will work with the president to make sure that prize leads to peace –at home and abroad.
    Let’s continue to pray for President Obama and the United States.  
    Tagged as: , , ,

    Comments are closed.