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Progressive Revival

The Power of Words: President Obama Receives the Nobel Peace Prize

Afghanistan, the Olympics, the Dalai Lama…in a week when the President was domestically burdened by several international quagmiers or miscues, the Nobel Committee awards Barack Obama the Peace Prize.  According to the New York Times:

The Nobel Committee announced in Oslo that it has awarded the annual peace prize to Barack Obama, just nine months into his presidency, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”  


The question that immediately must be asked is: How has the President “strengthened international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”?  The answer is exactly what hawkish conservatives deride him for – his speeches.  The committee especially cited the approach he has had to nuclear weapons as evidenced in the speech in Prague; and his willingness to directly engage the Muslim world in his brilliant speech in Cairo.  Anyone who domestically dismisses these efforts will have explain why America has risen in the past ten  months to be the most admired nation in the world after having fallen during President Bush’s terms. 


The President’s ability to communicate across divisiive liines (who can forget his race speech during the campaign) is laudable and extremely important in our globalized world.  Words do matter and people around the world are listening to our President. 

Ultimately, the President will have to make hard choices about Afghanistan, China, Israel and Palestine, and other issues that affect world peace.  Rhetoric will have to yield concrete action. 

But for today: congratulations Mr. President! You have made all Americans proud. 

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posted October 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

Whatever one thinks of President Obama’s intentions — or of his promise as a leader — the award is premature and preposterous. It subjects Obama to ridicule not to mention the silly Norwegians. Consider that the deadline for submitting nominations to the Nobel Committee was February 1st — only 10 days after President Obama took office. What were his ACTUAL accomplishments then (February 1) or now (October 9)? Not much.
The smart thing for Obama would be to save the situation — and save himself from further embarrassment — by charitably thanking the Nobel Committee for their generous impulse and suggesting that others are more deserving of the award (including the $1 million prize money).
Yes, Mr. President, decline the award and spare yourself, the country and the Norwegians further embarrassment.

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Mitch Carnell

posted October 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

Once again this award shows the power of words. Words are not just empty utterances. They have the power to heal or hurt. In the case of President Obama they have the power to heal. The world was waiting for a change from the abrasive attitude of the previous administration and the president has provided hope in that direction.

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Travis Mamone

posted October 9, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I agree with Emelie. While I applaud Obama’s efforts to end nuclear weapons and reach out to the Muslim world, I haven’t seen much fruition yet. Let’s face it: no one’s giving up their nukes yet, the Afghanistan war is going nowhere, and the last time I checked technically we’re still fighting in Iraq.
Now don’t think that I’m joining any Tea Party. I prefer to stay away from political parties and labels. [Instead of labels like “liberal,” “conservative,” or “libertarian,” I prefer to call myself simply a “peacenik.”] All I’m saying is don’t award the tree before it bears fruit. When Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, his words had a tremendous affect on the Civil Rights movement. With Obama, right now it’s just words, just planting seeds. It’s too soon to tell whether or not those seeds will bear fruit.

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Dazzle Smile Pro

posted October 10, 2009 at 2:39 am

Appeasing governments is not creating peace, it’s playing Santa Claus in hopes that they like us. We all see how well that worked after the N. Koreans gained nuclear material from our former Democrat president! Please separate peace from appeasement and you just MIGHT see that just because they like us for the moment doesn’t mean they always will.

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Carol Crocker

posted October 10, 2009 at 4:41 am

I am glad that President Obama has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Now if people would stop being negative about it maybe, just maybe, there really could be a really good chance that a more peaceful world can take hold. All persons getting on the same page so to speak. There has been a sea of change since Mr. Obama got involved the run for American president. After all the hurt and pain so many of us have experienced he became a beacon of hope! He needs support. He is not a magician and doesn’t have a magic wand but he does have courage and a belief that it can get better. What is the better way through these turbulant times if it’s not through peacemaking? What is peacemaking anyway if it doesn’t include communication of hopeful things versus hateful things? What is civilization and democracy all about? What are children being taught when adults behave so negatively towards such a beautiful thing as peace? Seeds of hope must be planted every day as we strive for a peaceful world. Congratulations to President Obama, the people who had the foresight and courage to award it to him and to all the other Nobel Peace Prize winners. Peace to all!
Carol Crocker

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posted October 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm

This is why the award is a joke. He is in office less than a year, he has done nothing, absolutely nothing but travel with his family and do photo opts.
What healing words do you mean Mitch? What has he healed. He is tearing this country apart and today after his pathetic health care bill even Democrats are turning against him. Poll numbers that once supported him are at the lowest ever.
I am sure he accepted because he wants money. He should have to share it however with the taxpayer, he does want wealth equally distributed doesn’t he? Smile.

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posted October 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm

“You have made all Americans proud.”

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posted October 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm

As for the rest of us, we have to do something well to get an award. That is the way it used to be with the Nobel Peace Price, such as when Jimmy Carter got it for the Camp David Accord, which ended hostilities between Israel and Egypt.
Perhaps I’ll always wonder why Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush didn’t get recognized for causing communism to fall, ending the Cold War. Their policies were instrumental in bringing down the Iron Curtain. That achievement allowed the practice of Christianity in Russia and eastern Europe without government persecution. It also allowed markets to flourish so people didn’t have to get in long lines to buy what little food was available. Russia had to buy grain from the US and Canada for years to feed it’s people.

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