13 October, 2009

American Pessimism

When did we stop respecting the Office of the President?  How long has it been since we've been able to honestly be proud of our President?  There have been no intern incidents, no outing of CIA operatives or shooting of hunting buddies by the Vice-President.  There has, however, been a Nobel Peace Prize.   That is, The Nobel Peace Prize.  President Barack Obama is in the company of the likes of The 14th Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Kofi Annan, Former President Jimmy Carter, Nohamed ElBaradei, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin to name just a few. 

The joke has been that this President Obama has not done the work necessary to become a Laureate.  That the prize is for what he hopes to accomplish as opposed to what he has accomplished. 

So, what is the punchline.

In 1994, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded toYasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.  This is the press release:

The Nobel Peace Prize 1994

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 1994, in alphabetical order, to Yasir Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.

For several decades, the conflict between Israel and its neighbour states, and between Israelis and Palestinians, has been among the most irreconcilable and menacing in international politics. The parties have caused each other great suffering.

By concluding the Oslo Accords, and subsequently following them up, Arafat, Peres and Rabin have made substantial contributions to a historic process through which peace and cooperation can replace war and hate.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel wrote that the Peace Prize could be awarded to the person who, in the preceding year, "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations". The award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1994 to Arafat, Peres and Rabin is intended by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to honour a political act which called for great courage on both sides, and which has opened up opportunities for a new development towards fraternity in the Middle East. It is the Committee's hope that the award will serve as an encouragement to all the Israelis and Palestinians who are endeavouring to establish lasting peace in the region.
Oslo, October 14, 1994
The prize was meant to serve as encouragement.  The Nobel Committee honored them for their efforts, their ideals.  They were honored for what they wanted to make happen in the world; for their intentions.  Did they reach their goals?  Did they try?  Are you able to measure how much progress was made and the value of the work done? 

It seems that people are so accustomed to being negative that they do not know how to sit down and take a moment to cheer.  It is a sad commentary on our culture.  So many people took the Olympic Committee's annoucement as a way to take a shot at President Obama.  How many people actually sat back and thought about the meaning of the announcement?  How many people wondered what the world saw in Our President that our political commentators are missing?  How many people understand that we may be witnessing a larger legacy than just the first African-American President of the United States of America?   Maybe we are all witness to true greatness, and isn't that something to celebrate?

Congratulations Mr. President.

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