I’m not sure who of you have read, or heard, Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech yet, but it is definitely worth looking at. It lays out a fundamental doctrine to his foreign policy and has drawn praise across party lines for its realism and blunt confrontation to criticism.
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In a controversial and surprising move, the Nobel Peace Committee nominated Barack Obama today for the Nobel Peace Prize. They cited his steps to promote world peace, and especially his efforts to create a nuclear free world.
The nay-sayers are already out in force, citing that there Obama’s presidency is in its infancy (he’s only within the first year of his tenure), that the U.S. is heavily involved in many wars, and there are more deserving candidates.
But despite this almost pavlovian anti-Americanism that is rampant among the world, this signals a fresh break and a signal of change from the Peace Committee. And one that I believe is important to take a closer look at.
Obama does not have an easy road ahead of him, and people tend to forget that he is dealing with a plate full of problems that he did not create. The wars in Iraq (which he was from the get-go against) and Afghanistan; the financial crisis; a plate full of domestic issues including health care reform; and an increasingly global world in need of cooperation on a global scale.
These, like it or not, are some of the main problems that face our generation today. And I cannot think of any figure in the world who has more of an ability to make a positive change on all of these issues.
Political scientists talk about soft power, or the power a person’s personality or reputation can do to move or change politics. By giving Obama this award, it only increases his political clout, and gives him a much needed boost when people are starting to think his vision and ideas are waning.
One of the main reasons for giving Obama the award was to increase his soft power. Increasing and encouraging Obama’s reputation will promote changing these visions and ideals of hope into a reality. Obama is deserving of this award, but with it he gets a greater responsibility to pursue the vision he created when he started on his presidency campaign. Hopefully Obama steps up to the challenge.
What do you think? Was he deserving? What does this decision mean?
Here is President Obama’s full speech to Congress about health care reform. It is well worth watching. If you want to watch the speech with an interactive text click here.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination
The fourteenth amendment gives rights to former slaves. Over rules Dredd Scott
The fifteenth amendment allows people to vote regardless of their race.
Brown v. Board of Education Repeals Plessy v. Ferguson. Also has famous ‘at all deliberate speed clause’
Eisenhower orders troops to Little Rock to allow students to go to school
Rosa Parks Refuses to Give up her seat on the bus
Kennedy Addresses Civil Rights
Martin Luther King’s reaction
Martin Luther King Jr. ‘I have a dream’ speech:
Robert F. Kennedy on Martin Luther King’s death
Lyndon B. Johnson On Voting Rights Act
McCain’s Concession Speech. Well done and tasteful
Obama’s Victory Speech
As everyone has already heard I’m sure, the next president of the United States is going to be Barack Obama.
Just let that sink in again.
Here are my thoughts about this historic accomplishment.
People are talking about Obama being a post-racial figure, but no matter what the race question was in play the entire time. Obama winning has marked a fundamental change in American society and an end to a long and dirty history. The American dream which was redefined by Martin Luther King Jr. has come to fruition. We can truly say that anyone can achieve any position in the U.S. regardless of the color of their skin now. As a domestic symbol, this will change the way we view our society. In addition, it has given the U.S. a reinvigorated standing in the world. After eight years of failed policies and unilateralism Obama marks a change in the way the world views the U.S. and if he conducts himself correctly, he will be able to rebuild America’s moral foundation.
Obama’s victory is also significant to every generation that has participated in it. This has been a long time coming. Many from past generations and present ones have fought hard to allow something like this to happen. But it also signifies the rise of a new generation. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of that.
I was 15 years old when President Bush was first elected. Almost my entire adolescence has been a time where I have been ashamed of my federal government. One where I saw so many opportunities, and chances, but they all were squandered. My parents and my grandparents generations have always talked about what they’ve accomplished. From World War II to the Civil rights movement, there were things that these generations could say they contributed and accomplished. My generation had yet to do that; this was our opportunity and we succeeded.
Ignorance and Fear:
Another significant outcome of the election is that I think it marks a demarcation and failure of the politics of fear and ignorance. Campaigns have been sloshing and dividing the country with simple-minded attacks which have lacked substance. For example, the Dole’s campaign trying to paint her competitor as an Atheist, or the rumor mongering that Barack Obama was a Muslim. These tactics were used to poke fear and relied on the fact that people were ignorant. They assumed that people would care more about a persons religion, race, gender, friends, or anything else, than the actual issues facing the country.
They failed and this is truly a step forward for the country.
The Republican machine was completely overwhelmed. They had the most unpopular president in the history and had become disenfranchised.
Many are probably asking, “how did this happen?”
It was only a few years ago when the republicans were talking about having a majority for the next 20 years, but slowly they lost control of their power. Now their party is on the brink of implosion and really needs to redefine itself.
The Christian Right which propelled Bush into his reign has been surpassed. Part of that has to do with the failing of the fear culture Bush and Rove tried to promote.
The real losers are the moderate and traditional conservatives though. The Republican senators who still have their jobs are far more conservative than the one who lost their posts. The Christian Right has truly hijacked the party. If they don’t move away from fear and ignorance than I think the Republican party might be doomed. There needs to be more of a centrist movement. Here Obama is reaching out his hand and looking to work with, not against, the people who disagree with him.
I hope that many who have become disenfranchised with the Republicans looks to take his offer. It will mark a new chapter in American politics when, and if, this happens.
Obama’s message is strong and one that appeals to the core of the American ideals. I’ve had the privilege to talk to a few Germans about the election. Many are still in disbelief that Obama is President, but the thing that has irked me is that most of them are still pessimistic about everything. They think someone is going to try and kill Obama, or that the politics of the U.S. are not going to really change. But being an American and knowing the significance of his victory I have to respectfully disagree with them. Obama has reinvigorated hope in America and his victory has marked a clear change in American politics.
Now his journey is not going to be easy, and he has a lot still to prove. But the opportunity he has created is remarkable and can’t be overlooked.
He has proven to America that something has changed, but he has yet to convince the rest of the world.