When I told my son that Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize he at first thought I was joking. When I told him they really did he said, “Why? Did they have a spare one laying around?”
Never has any Nobel Peace Prize winner done so little to deserve what used to be an honor. It is especially ridiculous given his utter lack of accomplishments as President (as lampooned by this SNL skit).
As a sociological/psychological phenomenon, the awarding of the prize is especially revealing given that the nomination deadline for this year’s prize was February 1st. That’s right, Obama was nominated for the Peace Prize when he had been in office for only two weeks!. This award reveals the left’s love of fantasy over reality. Leftists all over the world have created a massive fantasy construction based around Obama being the mythic hero who will save the world by virtue of his being a superman who transcends the grubby vices that the rest of us wallow in. It’s like he’s cast as the uberhero in the pseudo-intellectual’s version of World of Warcraft and the geeks from Norway just logged on.
Put starkly, Obama is not an extraordinary or accomplished individual in the domain of American politics. He has never accomplished anything of note apart from winning various offices. Instead, his entire career has been to serve as a living symbol of other people’s moral evolution. That is why he is President of the United States and that is why he got the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize committee is using Obama to demonstrate their own righteousness. They have no interest in rewarding actual accomplishment because for them, as leftists, simply believing in the fantasy of a better world is just as virtuous as actually making the world a better place.
Obama is far from alone in being a living symbol of other people’s morality. Since the late ’70s, describing an individual as the first black, female, disabled, etc. person to do ‘X’ has ceased to indicate an extraordinary individual. Instead, it merely indicates that some organization needs a public relations stunt to demonstrate their lack of prejudice. The organization reaches out to grab anyone with the right innate characteristics and they hold a press conference.
When Jackie Robinson, broke the color barrier in baseball, he didn’t do it because the owners, management and players of the Dodgers wanted to demonstrate their racial enlightenment. He did it because he had such great skill at baseball that he provided an enormous economic advantage to the owners, management and players. Indeed, when Robinson was first put on the team, the players mutinied and refused to play with him. Manager Leo Durocher famously ended the mutiny by saying:
“I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin’ zebra. I’m the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What’s more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.”
Free-market-driven “greed” caused the owners, managers and players of the Dodgers to overlook their presumed moral obligations to individually sacrifice economically to preserve the racist order of society for the greater good. Robinson wasn’t let into the club out of high minded ideals or pity. He kicked the door down.
Obama never kicked down any doors. No one has ever said of Obama, “Yeah, he’s black and I don’t like that but he’s such a damn good lawyer/community organizer/politician that I will overlook his race in order to get the enormous benefits he could bring me.”
Instead, people have chosen Obama so that they could hold him up as proof to the rest of the world that they were not racist. Obama began his meteoric rise when he was selected to be the “first black” editor of the Harvard Law Review. Now, are we to believe that the Harvard Law school in the ’90s was stuffed wall to wall with racists who had to hold their noses and vote for Obama because, just like Robinson, he was just so damn good at the law?
No one thinks that. At best, the people selecting Obama simply didn’t take his race into account. However, given the hoopla surrounding his election to chief editor, we can safely assume they selected him first and foremost because of his race and only secondarily for his skills. They didn’t select Obama in spite of their racial attitudes, they selected him so he could serve as an external symbol of their lack of racism. Any black Harvard law student with acceptable grades could have served such a symbolic purpose. Obama was nothing special.
Obama’s next leg up came when he was awarded a book contract based solely on his being “the first black” editor of the Harvard Law Review. Certainly, nothing in his tenure as editor justified such attention. Apparently devoid of any creative legal insights, he instead wrote a book about himself. Tellingly, the book isn’t about his accomplishments but rather about how factors over which he had no control, his heritage, his childhood, etc. influenced him. Again, the Obama in the book became useful to other people as a symbol of those people’s own morality. They used Obama to demonstrate their open mindedness by supporting someone with such an unusual background. Obama didn’t awe them with his long list of accomplishments at the age of 27.
This process continued all the way up to the presidential election. As the backlash against politically-managed health care, cap and trade, nationalization, etc. has shown, far fewer people support his far-left agenda than voted for him. Obama’s margin of victory depended heavily on people who “wanted to vote for the first black President.” People pointed to Obama as an “inspiring” and “transformative” potential President solely for two reasons: (1) like a skilled actor, he could give a good speech and (2) he was black. A big chunk of votes for Obama both in the primaries and the general election came from people who wanted to use Obama as a symbol for their own moral superiority.
Had Democrat primary voters wanted to select someone based on (leftist) merit Hillary Clinton would have made a better choice. She had actual experience working in the White House and she had seen what happens when a President misreads his mandate and tries to push through a sweeping nationalization of a big chunk of the economy. She is also by most accounts a skilled political horse trader. Of course, even Clinton got a boost from the “first woman to do X.”
People who voted for Obama didn’t expect Obama to transform America because of his long track record of successful political accomplishments. Good things would happen after Obama’s election because the mere fact that he was elected would demonstrate that enough people in America had the proper mindset needed to accomplish the transformation. They expected him to transform America by serving as a symbol, a visual indicator to everyone else, of the transformation that each individual citizen had made in their own hearts. He won the Nobel Peace prize for the same reason.
I am hoping against hope that Obama will refuse the prize. As much as I would like to see much (but not all ) of his domestic agenda fail, it is vital that the office of the President of the United States not become a joke. It is fine for a leader to be hated and feared. Indeed, any leader of good character wants the bad guys to hate and fear them. Roosevelt like the idea that Hitler hated him and Truman like the fact that Stalin hated Truman even more. No leader, however, can survive being viewed as ridiculous. No institution can long survive with a ridiculous leader.
Nothing makes a leader look more shallow, hollow and unworthy than unearned accolades. Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize after being in office for only 9 months makes him look like Saddam or some other dictator being awarded honors by the people he terrorizes. Just as the world laughed when Saddam won 100% of the Iraqi vote, the world will laugh at Obama (and by extension America) for winning a popularity contest among leftists based on two weeks of work.
We should all cross our fingers and pray he does the right thing. Given the incredible and unconscious narcissism of Obama and those who surround him, I don’t expect him to have that much self-awareness.
But, I can always hope he will change.