My favorite time of the morning are those early hours right after sunrise. I wake up, go to the bathroom, then climb back in bed for a couple (okay more like three) more hours of sleep Friends and family know not to telephone me before 9:00 a.m. (except my mother but she had special privileges). So when the phone rang this morning and I opened one eye and saw that it was 8:10 a.m., I did not have pleasant thoughts. However, as I have a vivid imagination, I couldn't simply ignore the ringing phone as it could have been some major catastrophe like my sister calling to warn me of an impeding tornado heading my way.
With way too much cheer for 8:10 a.m. my brother-in-law's voice came through the phone line loud and perky, "Wake up sleepyhead, Obama won the Nobel Peace prize!"
I mumbled a response and then realized that I could communicate more efficiently if I removed my mouth guard (I grid my teeth in my sleep) and took of my C-PAP sleep mask (sleep apnea). "Yeah, I know. I was up late and heard it on the news about 2:00 a.m. Funny, I thought about sharing the news with you but I figured you were asleep."
Bob's enthusiasm was contagious and once I had managed to open both eyes at the same time, I shared in his delight. I also shared his disgust that already Limbaugh, Beck, and Steele were busy disparaging President Obama's selection . Sadly, their comments reflect the underlying qualities that have come to characterize the image of Americans in the world during the last eight years--arrogance and ignorance.
As I've read blogs and news stories on the Net, it's not just Obama's detractors who have criticised his selection by the Nobel Peace prize committee. His supporters have also expressed concern that as a recipient, there is more pressure on him to perform miracles.
I've never confused Obama with Jesus Christ. However, he is a man who does not fold under pressure. He did the unthinkable less than a year ago; he played the game his way and he won the election. All throughout his campaign he was under attack--accused of being a socialist, decried as unqualified, alleged to not be a U.S. citizen, labeled as a traitor with a secret agenda to sell America out to Islam. His detractors began their campaign long before he was elected to office, but in spite of or perhaps because of their vitriolic attacks, he won decisively. I still recall my shock when the election was called by 11:00 p.m. est.
Admittedly, he does not have a lengthy track record of being an advocate for peace, nor can he point to a treaty that he has brokered. Our own country continues to be embroiled in the wars that he inherited from the Bush administration. So why did the committee select him for the Nobel Peace prize?
I think it is because he represents hope. This award is an affirmation that the rest of the world is beginning to again view America as a positive force, a leader among nations. The prize is not Obama's alone; it is an award to this country for once again turning towards a path of leadership in adhering to ethical principles and fostering diplomatic resolutions to our differences.
There were many policies espoused by the Bush administration that troubled me and among them was the emphasis on tough talk and displays of might that only served to escalate conflict. A president who referred to other nations as evildoers and challenges them to "bring it on," doesn't bode well for conflict resolution.
The entire world has a vested interest in our path. As much as some Americans deny it, the reality is that the advancements in travel and communication have moved us from a collection of individual nations to a world community. Our weapons have gotten more powerful but so have the weapons of everyone else. When we blow the world to smithereens, there will be no victory, no dancing in the streets for anyone. There is no logic in cheering for Obama's failure, and those who do so fail to recognize that if his vision fails, we all fail. We should all be praying for his success, instead of taking pleasure in painting him as the devil incarnate.
I am pleased and proud that President Obama's vision of a better world has been so publicly recognized with the awarding of the Nobel Peace prize. The myth goes that after Pandora opened the box and let out all the ills of the world, she was overcome with the enormity of what she had done and filled with despair, until there was a sound of one final creature exiting that box and her name was Hope.
Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.