Friday, October 9, 2009

It's not the thought that counts.

So the Big O has won the Nobel Peace Prize. To me it is no surprise and of no consequence. It is no surprise because all American presidential winners of the prize have been Democrats. It is of no consequence because the nomination deadline for this particular round was February 1, 2009 - barely 10 days after the president took the oath of office. Even though the actual voting occurred later, there was absolutely not enough time for the president to accomplish anything substantial enough to merit consideration, even working at his feverish pace.

This cheapening of the Nobel Peace Prize is extremely disappointing. It was foolish and shallow of the Nobel nominating committee to nominate anyone with such a slim record, regardless of how much Hope he spreads around. This was not the Nobel Hope Prize. It was the Nobel Peace Prize – arguably the most prestigious award in the world for a subject held in the highest regard by all of humankind. My disappointment, however, has nothing to do with President Obama, how I feel about his agenda, or the political party to which he belongs. My disappointment goes much deeper than that.

The gravitas of the Nobel Peace Prize should, in my opinion, be reserved until a person's whole body of work can be judged for its effect on the subject matter involved. Consider the polio vaccine, for example. The three scientists who won that award didn't win because they announced they would try to eradicate polio. They didn't win because they started on their experiment protocol. They won because they developed and proved a viable, economically and socially sustainable solution that could be replicated worldwide to eliminate polio as a threat. Now THAT'S an accomplishment worthy of a Nobel award. It's the worldwide effect of the accomplishment that matters and should be judged. If high-minded thoughts and good intentions were all that mattered to qualify someone for a Nobel award, nearly everyone would deserve one.

I don’t take issue with President Obama over this. I take issue with the Nobel committee. Either they don’t understand the importance of the award and have decided to hand it out willy nilly, or they do understand its importance, and they handed it to the least experienced and accomplished president in modern times because they want to lend weight to his agenda. Which one is worse?

1 comment:

  1. You said: all American presidential winners of the prize have been Democrats.

    You might to check Teddy Roosevelt; last time I did he was a Republican.

    Which isn't to say Obama should have won.