How many of you woke up this morning to some surprising news? I learned our 44th President had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while still too sleepy to fully process the full weight of the moment.
Apparently, this award was a total surprise, not least of all to the White House. Rahm Emanuel, who typically seems to know all, was even caught off guard.
From the NY Times:
The announcement stunned people from Norway to the White House. “There has been no discussion, nothing at all,” said Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, in a brief early morning telephone interview.
I have very strong, and conflicting, feelings about this. On the one hand, I am incredibly proud of our President and his efforts to change the tone of international diplomacy.
“Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said in its citation. “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”
The committee is right about Obama’s stronghold on the world’s attention, but domestically speaking, that attention hasn’t garnered much success in terms of changing the human rights landscape of our own country.
Only recently, the administration has continued destructive immigration policy that perpetuates the Bush administration’s enforcement-only practices. Not to mention Obama’s capitulation to the anti’s by using the term “illegal” during his joint session healthcare speech. (For more on why this term directly contradicts the idea of “peace” check out this video).
I feel proud of our President and the image he has projected to the rest of the world (I truly feel like he represents MY America while on the international stage), but I hope that this prize will push him to live up to the idea of “peace”. Let’s start with just and humane immigration reform that keeps families together, protects workers and benefits all of us.