Friday, October 9, 2009
When I woke up, I still hadn't had a blog topic to share today. As always, I was listening to the radio, and something they were discussing sounded like it might make for an interesting discussion. Until I turned on the tv...
Barack Obama won what??
I felt this overwhelming feeling of pride and happiness for him. I always imagined that he'd win one over the course of his political career...but wow! So soon?
I waited to hear what he had actually won for - not that I didn't think he deserved it - I just wanted to hear why the prize was awarded to him.
Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.
The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.
Ah...let the hate begin.
Now, don't get me wrong, I think it can be a fair question to ask what he's done to deserve it. He's got 9 months under his belt, and it's a bit premature to determine if he's lived up to his "Yes We Can" speeches. We have every right to question what he's done for us...here...in the United States.
But what I believe he's done for the WORLD is much greater. I think people underestimate just how powerful a little HOPE is. The world is watching him, not just us. His success here is just as important to the citizens of the world as it is for the citizens of the United States. Why? Because he represents more than just a leader of a country. He presents what can happen and what can be overcome with courage and faith. He represents hope and change for ALL people, not just us.
Some are saying he won because of his extraordinary speech to the U.N. This may be true. His speech called on us all to accept and work with people all over the world. His message was that ALL people matter, regardless of race or religion, and that we should work together to be great citizens of the world. Yes, he's a rock star in Europe. They adore him in Africa, obviously. But isn't that how it SHOULD be?
Bush never went out of his way to work with anyone but his wealthy cronies, alienating everyone else in the process, bulldozing his way around the world - diplomacy be damned. I guess the Oslo committee recognizes that President Obama's heart is in the right place - and now they're calling on him to live up to his promise of mutual interest and respect.
But aren't we ALL doing that? Isn't that what we wanted him to do BEFORE he was awarded this prize? Sure, I *heart* President Obama (never get tired of saying or hearing that) just as much as the next person. But I do want him to live up to his promise of change - and I have no doubt that he will. We were already calling on him to be great, so whether he received this honor prematurely or not, he knows that he has a great responsibility to live up to everything that he is. He knows that he has to CONTINUE to be great. And he knows the world is watching. That burden of expectation has never changed.
Some are saying that the prize has become politicized, and I wonder now if Pres. Obama feels that receiving this award would somehow be a liability. But in his speech this morning, he graciously and humbly accepted the award as a call to action and to someday to be worthy of the company he now keeps.
What people (read: haters) fail to realize is that this award was given for what he represents and is striving to do...as well as what he has already done.
What has he done?
He has transformed a whirlwind of despair into a warm and reviving breeze of hope. In the shifting sands of time and the uncertainties that darken our days, he accepted the challenge to walk a path in his life without the fatigue of pessimism, and he carries the weight of our fears on his shoulders. He has mastered fear through faith - yet doesn't offer us an illusion of a life that is exempt from challenges. Rather he instills in us the inner equilibrium needed to face challenges, burdens and fears that inevitably will come. He assures us that through our own personal responsibility (and belief in a trustworthy God), all of these challenges can and will be met. This award is aspirational, and all those who hate on him day in and day out don't get it.
Here's the reality. Hate and bitterness can never cure fear - but faith can. Hatred paralyzes life, but faith releases it. Hatred confuses life - faith and hope harmonize it. Hatred darkens life. Only love and hope can illuminate it. Barack Obama has the cosmic sustenance needed to remind us that our goal is not to be rid of fear and hatred, but to harness and master it. The confrontation of it grants him power to reach across the American "skyline" into all corners of the world. He was rewarded for the message he sends and the ideals he represents - that our success in life isn't individual - or American. He shares this award with all of us around the world, as our actions and practices have to bring about the outcome we ALL desire, not just what we want him to do for US. His star is already bright, and becomes brighter through right actions. Rather than try to dim his light, we should congratulate him and celebrate with him so that it does not lose it's glow.