Why it was good that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize despite his not deserving it

I mean really, what’s the big deal about the Nobel Peace Prize anyway? It comes with a hefty bag of cash but other than that, who cares? I can see how the prizes in Medicine or Physics or Literature can give some recognition in an otherwise recognition-free slog of research or writing, but they are still prizes given by a small group of people as fallen as the next group of people. Two-hundred people were nominated for the peace prize in February and we won’t find out who the other nominees were for several decades, but I will give $500 to anyone who remembers this post when the nominees are announced if George W. Bush was not one of those other nominees. Granted, no one reads this and $500 won’t be very much money then, but I’m pretty sure that someone nominated him anyway.

People are in a real hissy-state about Obama’s having received the award, but everyone seems to take for granted that the award means something other than recognition and some money that he’ll give away. But what does it really do but give a bunch of people the opportunity to nominate their own winners of the Peace Prize and have conversations about the prematureness of the medal?

But I’m still glad he won it because of that conversation we can have about peace and just-war theory. We can now talk about whether militarism is necessary or not. We can discuss the irony of Obama mentioning MLK and Tutu in his speech after ordering 30,000 troops to increase violence in an unwinnable war. It allows us to see how non-radical Obama actually is despite the partisan nutjob a-holes like Cheney and Palin insisting otherwise.

Am I still happy that Obama’s the president? When I look at the other options, I can’t imagine wanting anyone else. I probably side with Kucinich more than any other in principle, but principles mean very little in the office of POTUS. And Kucinich was obviously not going to win or get anything done had he won.

The best I feel we can hope for is that Obama hear the criticism from his base and mitigate some of his more Niebuhrian realism, but without that realism, nothing happens. I believe we should have a single-payer health care system similar to Canada’s, but by settling only for that would be to sacrifice the expansion of coverage for a principle. I believe that we should seriously scale down our military, but that would mean sacrificing any other bit of progress and likely losing to a pro-militarist Republican in 2012.

This is the state of American politics at the present moment. I don’t think a more principled Christian could become president. You have to tout the military, claim America is the greatest country imaginable, and accept help from corrupt sources or no one will take you seriously except me and my mates.

Lastly, I go back and forth over how politics fits into the Kingdom of God. I’m pretty sure some of my friends don’t vote at all because they would rather allow the country to go to Hell in a handbasket in order to better shine a light on the Kingdom of God. The contrast would be greater in that way, however, the Bible does highlight plenty of ethical principles that are good to do. Should we not want those principles realised no matter who realises them and for what ends? Jesus told his disciples to heal the sick. Why would we not want the government to do that if they can.

Anyway, this has become a rambling stream-of-conscious meditation that seems to have drifted a little. I’ll let it stand there.


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