Note: This was written in transit and I haven’t seen Obama’s remarks.
Barack Obama, the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner, is getting some backlash today! Clearly this, like the failure of the Chicago Olympic bid, is something he planned. How dare he accept such a prestigious award! This is the world of politics and media, for goodness sake. We never laud people for things they didn’t earn.
Calls for him to politely reject the prize are silly. The Nobel committees of all stripes have been accused of bias and politicking and agenda-mongering for years. Get over it, they’re still the people who get to hand out the award, and they were very clear on what their reasoning was: Committee head Thorbjorn Jagland specifically noted the aspirational nature of the award with respect to Obama’s efforts at diplomacy: “We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future but for what he has done in the previous year. We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.”
Okay? So all you people who are upset that he got it so early, well, that’s the point. Their point. Those crazy Scandinavians who get to make headlines once a year. Let them be aspirational on behalf of the guy who invented dynamite.
As for Obama, he should honor those aspirations — because he does share them. Not only with team Nobel but with the many people around the world, who people like Nicholas Kristof — who would know — think are also deserving. Obama’s no idiot. He knows that the work they do is vital to his global agenda (YES RUSH HE HAS A GLOBAL AGENDA, DEAL WITH IT) and he also knows what kind of platform this is, used well.
So — this is what I think he should say:
I accept this award but not for myself. It’s for the millions who work tirelessly for peace outside the spotlight, fighting against inhumanity, injustice, tyranny, oppression and indifference, often at great personal risk.
I accept this award not for myself, but for the women in the Congo against whom rape has been used as a weapon of war.
I accept this award not for myself, but for the people of Iran who fought for democracy, free speech and due process of law.
I accept this award not for myself, but for children around the world who deserve the change to grow up with a shot at a life of peace and prosperity instead of strife, sickness and poverty.
I accept this award not for myself, but for my family — my wife and her ancestors for whom essential freedoms were denied, my children who I want to grow up in safety, security and joy.
I accept this award for all the people in this country who wage battles every day for just that — and their brethren around the world. It is for them that this award is being given. The Nobel committee has made it clear that they are honoring not me but all of us in this country as we reach out our hands across the globe to make our shared planet a better place for us all. America is the first country to pour out support and help when disasters strike overseas, ordinary people contributing what they can to help. It’s what this country is all about and it is what it will always be about. That is what I inherited when I took office and that is what I will strive to honor every day going forward for as long as I am president, and beyond.
This award is not for me. It is for you.
Or something like that.
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