Saturday, January 30, 2010

About that Nobel Peace Prize...

I tend to ignore politics for the most part, so I normally wouldn't have anything to say about President Obama. However, on the rare occasion that I happen to see someone with purple lips (regardless of whatever color their skin happens to be), It will most likely strike me as odd no matter who it is; that is, unless they are choking... or dead. The fact that it was the President, speaking live to millions of people on national television, kind of emphasized the oddity of the situation. Even though my lack of interest effectively separates me from politics, I still managed to receive the news that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama. I would like to give the Nobel Institute the benefit of the doubt in assuming that they award these prizes based on a recognizable and ubiquitous standard of excellence, but the fact that I could not discern any type of meritorious deed or achievement that was equal to the honor was unsettling. It would be nice if we were allowed take just this one particular notion of honor and truth for granted, but the possibility that the institution of the Nobel Peace Prize might be a sham elicits in me feelings of foolish naivety. I feel that there may be no recourse other than to accept that, in this particular instance at least, the Nobel Institute has given the world the shaft.

I don't have any particular issues with President Obama, but I am curious as to why he was awarded the peace prize. I've actually been told that it's not what President Obama did, but what he's going to do. This explanation is not acceptable. Logic suggests that if an effect is observed, then it is reasonable to assume the existence of a cause which is equal and tantamount to that effect. In this case, the effect - that is, the Nobel Peace prize being awarded to President Obama - exists blatantly in defiance of a sufficient cause (incidentally, in this particular case it was somewhat disturbing to realize that logical reasoning had been purposefully suppressed and abandoned in favor of the happy ignorance elicited by vulgar infatuation). In an attempt to make some kind of sense out of this entire mess, I felt compelled to do a bit of web research. I didn't find any really good or satisfying or legitimate or rational or relevant or acceptable or compelling or convincing or applicable or even commonsensical reasons, but I did find several diversions which seem to be regarded as the generally accepted rationale for why the Nobel Peace Prize (as opposed to the Nobel Good Intentions Prize) was awarded to President Obama.

1. He made several phone calls to various prime ministers, presidents and kings (I couldn't find any information as to what they talked about; I'm assuming it had something to do with peace).
2. He met with one ambassador, two commanders, and numerous retired generals for a war briefing (as commander in chief, this is to be expected; but as to why it merits a Nobel, the reason continues to elude me).
3. He issued the order to close Guantanamo Bay (he just didn't specify when exactly).
4. He encouraged the government funding of abortion outside the United States (logic suggests that more foreign abortions translates into fewer foreign war fanatics...?).
5. He outlawed torture again (just in case everyone had forgotten about the Geneva Convention).
6. He created the position of Special Envoy for Climate Change (in the interests of a peaceful change of climate...?)
7. He plans to withdraw 35,000 troops from Iraq by sending 35,000 troops to Afghanistan (haha).

I say all of this with no exaggeration, and with only the bare minimum of required sarcasm (which may easily be ignored), that according to various online news sources, these are the most commonly shared reasons why President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What a mess... it would have made more sense if President Truman had been awarded it for ending World War II. Ok, so he ordered two Japanese cities to be vaporized, but look at all of the American lives he saved by avoiding an invasion. Sure, it's a fairly ridiculous proposal, but it is imminently arguable when compared to the current debacle... and at least Truman DID something. The fact that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is just about the biggest crock I've ever heard...

... oh, and I also think it would be spectacularly naive to assume that being the first black president had nothing to do with it.