So, when I heard the news about Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize this morning, I'm sure my reaction was the same as everyone else's except for the committee in charge of awarding the peace prize: I was stunned. And for that brief split second, everyone on earth who follows the course of world events was united in that sentiment, probably. No one would have expected it.
Was it a bit premature? That was my next reaction. Probably. Obama's brief statement a little later in the morning acknowledged THAT. And I quote:
"To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize, men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace."
But he goes on to say:
"But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women and all Americans want to build, a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents.
And I know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.
And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century."
That about sums it up.
The expected hissy fits and coniptions were soon to follow from the predictable conservative pundits but, interestingly, except for a few of the usual suspects, by and large, the elected officials on the pachyderm side of the aisle have been silent. So far.
I am enjoying the ride in a sense, of watching those whose sense of entitlement and ego have blinded them to the fact that the world is moving on, and away from the conservative anti-government backlash of the past 30 years. This, of course, was a sequel. The original movie was more potent. You know, the one that talked about a return to normalcy, getting government out of our lives, etc. and all of those pesky progressive "regulations" getting in the way of the "business of america..." which was, of course, according to ol' Silent Cal, "business," as in, a vacuum. Surely a collective social contract which lead to the structures put in place for businesses of the type at the time to operate and come up with new ideas to sell had nothing to do with prosperity. And business was booming. There was certainly a lot of speculative behavior. And then, of course, the bubble burst and people with a more enlightened view, those who wholly understood what a "social contract" actually means, came in to try and clean the mess of the great depression.
Although it took a war to end it completely, you know the rest of the story. The post war years lead to the expansion of the middle class, the interstate highway system, GI bill and all the rest.
As an aside, I find it amusing that many conservatives hearken back to the 1950s as the good old days. Ike was President, after all. But, as I've mentioned before in here, the top tax rate was 91% (closer to 50% after writeoffs, loopholes and the like). I'd say that was still pretty progressive.
And then came Reagan. And the sequel. And only now it seems we've sort of come to our senses. Health Care is about to pass. And the Nobel was awarded primarily as a rebuke of the cowboy diplomacy of more recent years as anything else.
So let the wingnuts spew their venom. Fuck 'em! They're irrelevant. Well...when hate speech is so prevalent, this also means there are more John Wilkes Booths than usual, but I'll try and pretend I didn't say that out loud. Congrats Mr. Prez. As you've said, this award is a down payment for saner things to come. And what is a down payment but a statement of hope?
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