Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Peace Prize: October surprise?

When I heard the news this morning that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I thought that I must still be asleep and having a very strange dream. But when I soon realized that I was awake I thought it couldn't be April 1st yet and I knew I hadn't heard anything about The Onion taking over the news copywriting for a day. Finally I realized that this was real. Fairly soon I heard the right wing nutty response (much like the same people's response to Chicago losing the Olympics). This is what the RNC's Mike Steele had to say:
The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?' It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain - President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.
Actually the American people are really asking: "Why have the Republicans stood in the way of President Obama doing anything?" Hardly surprisingly an extreme version of this came from the massively off-kilter Rush Limbaugh:
This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama. And with this 'award' the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States. They love a weakened, neutered U.S, and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too.
I'm not sure how god got into this, but Limbaugh's fascination with "emasculation" and being "neutered" makes one wonder about his private life. As the day progressed the right-wing lie machine created its latest. They claimed that the award was decided on about a week after Obama took office. Actually he ws nominated last November, with about 350 other people. The award was decided on quite recently. But that didn't keep the right from spreading their latest version of "death panels."

At first, my reaction mirrored some of this criticism, particularly: What has he done? And how can he be awarded a Peace Prize while he commands an occupation of Iraq, contemplates escalating the devastation of Afghanistan and can't even bring himself to criticize the Israeli murder of innocents in Gaza. But as I thought more about it I began to think the award might be a good thing. I'm almost certain it won't move Obama from his determination to save capitalism from itself. But in the eyes of most sane people (unlike those quoted above) it might press forward the struggle against a nuclear world, attempts to prevent us from destroying our environment and ourselves and abandon the idea that war (no matter how profitable it is) is the only answer to world problems. The Nobel Peace Prize has often been awarded to encourage good behavior rather than as a reward for success. I don't usually predict the future but it will be interesting to see what effect it has. In the short term it's fun to laugh at the right-wing obsessive anti-Obama response


sanda said...

A friend just sent me Howard Zinn's posting of last weekend in the Guardian online that giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama was wrong.
Howard Zinn is at the top of my list of people I respect. Zinn suggests the Nobel Committee (Peace section) should close down and give away the money. I agree. And I thought the prize to Obama (who I voted for, but not again) was wrong when I first heard it.
The negative comments from progressives on Glenn Greenwald's column, at the time Obama was given the prize, were the best, funniest comments I have ever seen. The Rwing, I ignore them.

sanda said...

Howard Zinn's article, "War and Peace Prizes" is in the on Oct. 10,2009.