Getting His Peace of the Pie

There are two things I want to say right off the bat about President Barack Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.


And: Why?

I’m confused.

It’s not that I don’t think Obama deserves scads of recognition for his intelligence, his Zen-like calm in the face of the madness around him, his lovely family, breaking the color barrier in the presidency, coming up from humble roots to achieve great success, and so much more.

The man’s done a lot in a relatively short time, and I have great respect for him and I want him to succeed.

But a Nobel Peace Prize?

I think the Nobel folks stretched it a bit to say that he has ushered in a new atmosphere conducive to peace. I mean, he’s less than a year into his term, we’re about to up the number of troops in Afghanistan, and there are people right here in the United States who aren’t afraid to make it known in public demonstrations that they want him dead.


Of all the things with which to honor our president, to give him the Nobel Peace Prize right now seems ludicrous.

For one thing, it feels like the time that Al Pacino got the Oscar for “Scent of  Woman,” in which he chewed up scenery like a puppy with a new slipper. It was some of his weakest work, and yet he got one of those nice Academy Award statuettes because had always lost out on his many great roles in past Oscar ceremonies. Except with the Nobel Peace Prize, I feel like it’s the world giving the United States an award for finally electing a black man. Almost like they said to themselves, “Gee, we’ve been awfully hard on the United States for a long time, but they have done some good things…very good things…among the bad, and they did an outstanding job in World War II, so let’s give them some recognition by giving their besieged president the peace prize.”

For another thing, did the Nobel Prize people even think about what this means for Obama? Sure, they’ve ensured that he’ll make even more money now on his post-presidential lecture circuit. But now, with a Nobel Peace Prize, he has to deliver some peace, damn it…serious peace…or he will be dragged over the coals by people in this country. Now he has to live up the award he’s been given. The man has enough on his plate trying to right our economy and get something resembling healthcare reform without having a peace prize standard of achievement hanging over his head as well.

I like Obama a lot. I want him to succeed.

I don’t like that he got a Nobel Peace Prize.

I’m still scratching my head.

And groaning.


11 Responses to “Getting His Peace of the Pie”

  1. October 10, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Peace is a change of heart, not just a cessation of warfare. Candidate Obama, now President Obama, changed hearts–the way the world sees itself, and us.

    I think that deserves accolades–and the Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. October 10, 2009 at 3:37 am

    Hi there,

    What has homeboy DONE in ten months that warrants a NPP?

    Okay…he kissed plenty behinds of whites in order to get elected…

    He’s the first biracial president (well the first one who claims his black heritage)…Check.

    He has lofty ideals (none of which we have seen implemented)…Check.

    He has taken some important trips overseas and started trying to repair the damage that has been done with various nations that have no trust whatsoever in our country….Check.

    A trip with a great speech and a photo op with everyone smiling doesn’t signify that Obama has repaired all of the complex damage that has occurred. Those foreign leaders may be willing to give Obama a chance but Obama must deliver on his promises…and we haven’t seen that YET.

    I am completely unimpressed with the leadership of Obama, so far. He’s not a failure but I don’t see much progress yet. Introducing lofty ideals and executing those ideals are not the same thing.

    Black folks are acting as if Obama should be recorded as the 14th disciple!! *LOL*

    My eyes are wide open. I’m waiting for him to accomplish something historical for this country that will be lasting. I think most blacks will settle for small victories and a quick fix to deeper problems.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    October 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I really think that it’s too early, especially given the mess that Obama inherited, to dismiss him or even to question whether he’s a leader.

    I mean, Bush and Cheney got things done, but I wouldn’t call what they did leadership. Bullyship, yes. Leadership and stewardship however, was nowhere in their agenda. So I still feel that the captain at the wheel right now is better just for having a brain and something more resembling a true heart.

    But at the same time, I do think there has been way too little actual progress and results to be handing out award and accolades on the level of the Nobel Peace Prize.

  4. October 11, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Lisa leads with her cynicism. Anyone who ends comments with the valedictory statement, “Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!,” I would expect more civility from.

    Yet, what she’s done here and on other blogs is show her disdain for President Obama. How else do you process the statement, “Okay…he kissed plenty behinds of whites in order to get elected…
    Check,” and this, “Black folks are acting as if Obama should be recorded as the 14th disciple!! *LOL*”

    On this video from a segment of her show, Rachel Maddow speaks for me on the issue of President Obama deserving the Prize. Check it out, if you haven’t seen it:


  5. 5 blackgirlinmaine
    October 11, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I have to agree with Black Diaspora that you should check our Maddow’s segment. She did a great job of explaning how the NPP works and why Obama received it. I admit I have been on the fence but when I looked at the larger picture I could see why he received it. That said, I do worry that receiving the NPP could work against him in the long run, after all to quote a commenter from FN’s blog, this is great but is it gonna put Ray-Ray and Skippy back to work? I am glad that the world sees us in a better light but its not the world who voted for Obama, its folks in the USA who wanted change. Ideally in the form of real access to health care and some jobs. Instead we are probably going to end up with half assed health care and at the rate we are going, no jobs. These things do not bode well in getting a second tern, instead all the Bubba rednecks who did take a chance on the O-man will not be giving him a second chance.

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    October 11, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    And that, BGIM, is one of my big concerns: What it might mean, possibly in a negative way, for Obama to have to “live up” to this honorific when he has so much on his plate right now and so much still up in the air.

    I will check out the Maddow segment when I have a chance, but I still worry that this is an honor too early bestowed.

  7. October 11, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    “I will check out the Maddow segment when I have a chance, but I still worry that this is an honor too early bestowed.” Deacon

    You may find the Maddow segment embedded on my latest blog entry investigating the subject. I have no problem, by the way, with the president having to “live up” to anything. His plate is full, to be sure, much of the hard-to-digest fare put there by the previous administration.

    He can handle this as well. I don’t see the Prize as an impediment, but as grease on the wheels of progress.

    We hired President Obama with our votes, but the world has a vested interest in our decision as well. As we go, the world goes. NATO is on the frontline of this war in Afghanistan, and not only American men and women are falling on the battlefield.

    Our success economically, militarily, and socially, impacts the world as well. The world has as much a stake in U.S. favorable outcomes, as we do.

    The Nobel Peace Prize was a reminder of that!

  8. October 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Why do we need to wait until the President doe’s something worth while! no matter what he doe’s Black folk’s will never be Pleased! White folk’s will want him to FAIL!!! this man cannot win can he? if the White man say’s “The President doe’s not DESERVE ANYTHING) Black man will scratch his head and say “Well I guess Master is Right” then the Black woman will follow the lead of the Black man and agree! you see, it doe’s not take much, for our people to TURN on one another!!

    If all white men had been in support of the President receiving a Nobel Peace Prize! it is no way
    confused Black people would not be questioning anything!!! but, since we still have some of our people that refuse to stand on their own two feet! that old Spirit of Slave thinking is alive and well in 2009! and the sad thing is, we have so called (Well informed Black men and woman) trying to figure out why a Black man Deserve’s a award! well, he deserve’s it because he is Single Black man with the World on his shoulder!!! now tell me, what man in America will step forth and take over the President’s job! NO man! not a ONE, so for NOW, the President deserve’s the Nobel Peace Prize!!!!!

  9. 9 Deacon Blue
    October 13, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Look, if I wasn’t clear, let me be more so now.

    I think the President is deserving of many accolades. He may even be deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize at this moment…or in the near future.

    I watched Rachel Maddow’s piece, and while she makes may good points and I can see the logic, I still cannot get past the part that he was nominated for this pretty much right after setting up shop in the Oval Office.

    Sure, he made a lot of strong statements for peace, but mostly as part of a CAMPAIGN. Presidential candidates make lot of STATEMENTS.

    Sure, he got America to vote for him, and that is HUGE, but that still doesn’t equal for me a vision of peace or a mandate for peace.

    Fact is, for the whole PEACE thing, I can’t see how the Nobel folks could have truly had reason to consider him seriously until THIS nomination cycle coming up in February, for the NEXT Nobel Prize.

    There is very little I agree with when it comes to the neocons, and I agree with Rachel Maddow that the venom spewed toward the presidnet about this high award is just evil and contrary…but I do suspect, like many neocons, that the real reason Obama was considered for this was simply because he was such a stark contrast to the idiot previously in the Oval Office. Compared to Bush, Obama looked like a saint and the culmination of all our dreams as a world.

    I WANT Obama to succeed. I am PROUD to see a Black man achieve that office. I RESPECT him on almost every level. And he had nothing to do with his selection for this award (i.e. it was given to him and he was gracious, and he never sought it nor should he be ashamed of it).

    But the timing of it and the reasons for it don’t seem right to me. Yes, as Rachel Maddow pointed out, results and conclusive outcomes aren’t always what the prize is about. But most of those who got the Peace Prize and didn’t see their goals realized right away (or ever) faced and sometimes continue to face huge amount of persecution. Certainly Obama has faced some persecution, but prior to running for presidnet, not more than any other Black man in his positin, and after running, he had Secret Service protection. Jimmy Carter got the prize for dogged determination in Middle East peace, but if I recall, the atmosphere back then was one in which even getting the two sides to shake hands was damn near an impossibility.

    I just don’t see what specific agenda Obama was advancing or what road he was on or what he symbolized concretely early this year that made him a viable candidate for teh Nobel Peace Prize this year aside from so clearly NOT being Bush.

    This isn’t a critcism of Obama. This is a criticism of the Nobel folks, who I think jumped the gun on this with enthusiasm rather than reason.

  10. October 13, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    “I just don’t see what specific agenda Obama was advancing or what road he was on or what he symbolized concretely early this year that made him a viable candidate for teh Nobel Peace Prize this year aside from so clearly NOT being Bush.” Deacon Blue

    Deacon, you make some good points, to be sure. But it’s what we can’t see that’s the most important to us as human beings, Love being chief among them.

    And, as humans, we don’t often credit what we can’t see. Obama achieved a shift in consciouness, not only here at home, but abroad. That shift will do more to advance peace than all the armies in the world.

    I’m positive the Nobel Prize Committee saw this, applauded it, and awarded it.

  11. 11 Deacon Blue
    October 13, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks, and by no means do I want you to think that I find your own points lacking in validity.

    This is very much an issue where both sides have valid points. Unfortunately for Obama, perhaps, many of his supporters are scratching their heads and probably almost all of his detractors are too, so he gets it from multiple direction on this.

    I do sincerely hope that what comes out of Obama’s term (and, I hope, a second term as well) will be a journey that makes some noticeable progress on peace, on healthcare for all Americans and making corrections to our economy.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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