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Obamarama (or “How I won the Nobel Prize in less than a year.”)

9 October 2009

Today, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  If you’re like me, you’re a little miffed by this.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the President.  The things he stands for, ideologically, I agree with whole heartedly.  Having said that, I feel at liberty to call out a few issues I have with his presidency thus far.

The Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize

First, I find it ironic that the President of a country at war is awarded something literally called a “peace prize.”  If you aren’t familiar with the Nobel prize, it is a tradition started by Alfred Nobel when he died on December 10, 1896.  He left a will which divided a vast fortune among five prizes.  One of them was to be awarded for someone who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses.”  The panel that decides on the annual recipient is made up of five judges from the Norwegian Storting.  Norway is a country among the European union, which had a well-known dislike for the Bush administration.  I almost feel as though President Obama received the award simply for not being George W. Bush.

My largest concern surrounding the Presidents receiving of the award is that, in my opinion, I’ve yet to see any results.  I could understand if Obama had accomplished the disarming of Iran’s nuclear program or the closing of Guantanamo Bay.  I could understand if the President had been instrumental in an historic event which lifted humanity into an era of peace.  I’d even be okay with him winning the Nobel prize if he could get a single-payer healthcare system enacted, or at least a solid public option.  The reality of the situation is very different though.

Hiromi Yasui for The New York Times

Hiromi Yasui for The New York Times

The closing of Guantanamo Bay Naval Station is scheduled to occur at the end of this year.  However, by all expert accounts the feat will prove impossible.  When President Obama created the time frame in which to close the detention center he most likely didn’t fully grasp the legal complexities or maybe he was more concerned with having a hot one liner to energize his voting base; “I intend to close Guantanamo and I will follow through on that.”  In his defense, he has only been in office for ten months, but the deadline he set is fast approaching.

At the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last month the President acknowledged that disarming talks have been intentionally undermined by the discovery of a covert uranium enrichment site in the city of Qum, Iran.  The discovery of this facility, in a holy city no less, makes it clear that any perceived accountability or cooperation on Iran’s part has always been little more than a front.

FileQom fatima

Qum, Iran

I don’t personally understand how President Obama has had any effect what-so-ever on the issue.  The UN and Iran have been involved in diplomatic talks for over 20 years.  How has Obama aided the peace process?

The President hasn’t made much head-way in the cause of healthcare either.  Another issue that has been on-going for over 20 years, healthcare was guaranteed to be effectively reformed using a single-payer system.  A single-payer system was the platform upon which Candidate Obama ran.  Instead, when the issue begins to gain momentum the President started from the compromised position of a “public option.”  A public option may be a step in the right direction, but a single-payer system is an entire world apart – and we’re still waiting for the compromised position to be enacted.

With no real noticeable effect on the world, other than not being George W. Bush, how is it that President Obama was awarded one of the most prestigious awards, above 205 other people.  Unfortunately, the nominee list is kept secret for 50 years.  If you hear anyone claiming they know who else was on the nominee list, it is a rumor at best.

I’d like to say the President was humble about receiving the award, but I’m not sure what to think.  He acknowledged that he “do(es) not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize.”  But he started his speech with a joke that, to me, seemed to make the winning of the award something trivial; “After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, “Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo’s birthday.”

In any case, the bottom line seems to be that the President promised the repeal of DOMA & DADT, the war in Iraq would be ended, Gitmo would be closed, healthcare would be single-payer, we would invest in green energy to create green jobs, and much more.  I haven’t seen any of it happen yet.

Not only does Barack Obama not deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, but he also does not deserve the Nobel Prize for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, or Economics.


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