But what is it in Barack Obama’s rather thin resume which prompted the committee to select his name this year? His work as a community organizer? All of those “present” votes as a legislator? (I suppose refusing to take a side in most debates could be considered “peaceful” in a way.) As president he has been in office for less than a year. He hasn’t engaged the Middle East peace process in any meaningful way, aside from telling Israel he wouldn’t help them if they decide to bomb the Iranians. Was that the big move which put him over the top?
Or is it that the Nobel Prize has devolved into a political football, lacking any of the substance and gravitas which it once carried? When Al Gore took home the honors in 2007, that should have been the final nail in the coffin of credibility. Gore’s somewhat questionable focus was on science in the realm of climate change, not world peace. But much like a bad PR agency striving to attach big names to their client roster, the committee seems to be more enamored of the ebb and flow of public sentiment than any meaningful contribution to the fields of endeavor they seek to honor.
There is likely no name on lips around the globe right now with more sacred chatter than the current president’s, and clearly the Nobel committee is seeking to attach itself to Mr. Obama’s fame train. But his freshman year in the West Wing hasn’t exactly been synonymous with achievement or success. And world peace is arguably one field where his accomplishments add up to virtually nothing.
Did the president inspire “hope” in a world looking for peace? Perhaps. There is still a fair amount of magic attached to that talisman. But the inspiration of hope through the mere act of breathing seems rather thin gruel for a Nobel stew. Then again, I still have hope that I’ll wake up tomorrow as an eighteen-year-old youth with a killer curveball. And who can say what the future holds? Apparently anything is possible on Freaky Friday.