||[Oct. 9th, 2009|08:42 am]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in a surprise announcement this morning. The reason, the committee said, was to honor his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
To which I say, "Uh...what?"
Look, for the most part I like Obama. I certainly like him a whole hell of a lot more than our previous president. Against my better judgment, even after being burned so many times before, I still have high expectations for his administration--but that's all they are, expectations. And that, it seems, is all this Nobel Peace Prize is about too, and to me, that's a little nutty. After all, shouldn't the Nobel Peace Prize be given to someone after their plan comes to fruition, not merely for claims of intent? Obama's plans have not born any fruit yet--in fact, I'm not even sure they've been fully put in place yet. Only the barest seeds have been planted. So why the rush to give him the award? Why not wait and see what happens? Shouldn't the award go to someone who has done something really good, instead of to someone whom the committee is hoping will do something really good? I mean, the man has only been in office for nine months now and he hasn't done all that much yet.
This reminds me of shortly after the 2008 election, when the economy started sinking even faster, and everyone turned to Obama and said, "Do something!" And Obama had to be like, "We only have one president at a time, folks, and I ain't him yet." It was as if people couldn't freaking wait for Obama to be president. Part of that was the desire to be rid of his predecessor already, to be sure, but a lot of it was an unfair piling on of expectations. Obama's a smart guy, they seemed to think to themselves in December of 2008, before he was even in office. Why hasn't he fixed the world yet? That's a lot to handle, and I don't envy Obama his position as someone who is expected to basically be Superman.
Currently, his approval rating is hovering around the 50-yard line. Not bad for a U.S. president, really. But that's a drop from earlier this year, and if you ask me, it's those wild expectations that are to blame. Why hasn't he fixed health care yet? Why am I still out of work? That kind of thing. We're a culture of impatience. Not that these issues aren't important--they are important--it's just that sometimes our impatience leads us to expect miracles.
And I feel like that's what the Nobel Committee is doing by giving a president who hasn't even been in office for a year yet a Nobel Peace Prize. It's nice of them, sure. It speaks to the confidence they have in him, and the hope that he will succeed in making the world a better, more peaceful place. But in the end, it's just one more wild expectation piled onto the shoulders of a human being. It makes me wonder how much more he can hold before his legs give out, and it makes me wonder why we, as a world, keep setting ourselves up for disappointment by expecting miracles.