Contrast this with yesterday’s Noble Peace Prize ceremony. President Obama was in the very uncomfortable position of having to defend war while receiving the world’s highest award for peace. Even being the avowed product of the ethos of Dr. Martin Luther King did not stand in the way of explaining the inexplicable and oxymoronic use of war to promote peace. He eloquently elevated doublespeak to its highest pinnacle in defending the actions of a country which almost always chooses war over peace as a methodology to achieve world stability. He may be a worthy president of the world’s latest empire, and in the end, his strategy may prove to be correct (though I am highly skeptical), but he is clearly not a man of peace. He is no Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela, or even George Marshall.
All of this is an ironic twist on the “audacity of hope.” The Nobel Committee bestowed the prize on the sole basis of hope, and Obama truly has inspired hope on a global scale. But promoting hope over actual deeds is certainly audacity on the part of the Committee. And it may have taken even greater audacity to accept an admittedly undeserved award for peace after escalating a war.
If measured only by deeds, there is no man, woman or child on the planet who has committed more human and material resources to war in the last year than President Obama. This includes the most evil of the evil (who may have more hateful intentions, but far less power). I would have to regrettably declare that he is actually the least deserving person on earth to be awarded a peace prize this year. Such are the ironies of history and such are the impossibly difficult choices of the most powerful head of state in today’s world, that what I believe to be a fundamentally decent, peace loving man, feels compelled to make such an unpeaceful choice.
This begs the question (at least in the nearly random cross connections of my mind): If Obama had been a sailor, would he have made different choices in terms of accepting the Peace Prize. If, in addition to admiring Dr. Martin Luther King, he had experienced fellow sailors, high school and college sailing coaches, club racers, sailing judges, and high level competitors all preaching the Corinthian spirit (and for the most part living it), would he not have the good conscience to call a penalty on himself and withdraw from consideration. Even the best sailors make mistakes, but they accept a penalty and move on. I would like to think that a fellow sailor would have found a way to do the honorable thing.
Is it too late to save the Nobel Peace Prize from cynicism and meaninglessness? I say no! There is still time to RE-GIFT the award. Is there a worthy recipient in this war torn world? Did the Nobel committee have a runner-up, like the alternate chosen to do the duties of Miss America Vanessa Williams when she was deemed unworthy? Can we pick someone who worked for peace in a previous year? Can we honor someone posthumously? So who is the best person to never have won the Nobel Peace prize? Or who deserves to get it twice? Submit your nominations here.
I nominate Mahatma Gandhi. A true man of peace. And at least once, according to the poster shamelessly stolen from AllPosters.com, he was a sailor. Give the award to him, and give the money to the starving people of India. Then at least the award could maintain its integrity.