Saturday, October 10, 2009
As I twittered and noted elsewhere, I'm not entirely enthused that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama. I say this of course as somebody who worked for his campaign, knowing that he promised to fix some important things while also promising to wind down the war in Iraq all-too-slowly and escalate the war in Afghanistan.
That said, I understand and appreciate the reasoning behind the award. As is sometimes the case, the Prize can be used to cajole the powerful, to support nascent initiatives and to acknowledge the fact that building peace often relies on people who aren't inherently peacemakers. Obama appears to get this is call to action, not a reward for past success.
And really, who is one person in the best position to enable peace but the President of the United States?
We have the most expensive military that projects power all across the globe. We are mired in two wars and support a client state's brutal occupation that destabilizes a region. We consume most of the world's resources. Obama is in the position to change some of that.
But let's not lose sight of something in all the arguments about the Nobel: it's up to us to create the space for Obama to earn this.
We can do it by creating justice at home in the form of meaningful healthcare reform, marriage equality, and reduced consumerism. We can do it by supporting HR2404, calling for an exit strategy in Afghanistan, and HR3699, denying funds for an escalation. We can do it by accepting our personal responsibility as citizens and being engaged with our government.
The 2008 election wasn't just about Obama, about putting a man in office who would single-handedly repair things after 8 disastrous years. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize is no different. So hear the calls to action and get to work.
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