Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient President Barack Obama: HE IS OUR PRESIDENT

All Americans should feel a sense of pride that we have this President of these United States. That he is ours. His Nobel Prize acceptance speech was magnificent.

President Obama’s address significantly surpasses the exhortations of President John F Kennedy’s American University Commencement Address.

Those who don’t feel that same pride, and who do nothing but claim this President does not deserve to be the President of the United States or deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize, should really self-audit, and take a close look at their own attitudes and authentic reasons why they feel that way. A significant majority of the time I find that it is because -- amongst other reasons that I don’t care to specify -- they are in solidarity with the stance and mindset ex-President Bush, ex-Vice President Cheney, and hawks, without realizing that if it were not for the actions of the Bush Administration, President Obama would not have received the Nobel Peace Prize: it was precisely the contrast President Obama has demonstrated in how America conducts its foreign policy and in establishing relations with other nations that triggered that winning nomination. If not for some Americans, at least as the Nobel Committee and a good part of the world see it, he is deserving.

Some of the points that President Obama made are the same points that I have argued for many years now, and therefore they really stood out to me: why confronting environment concerns are important, whether or not exigent global warming is a fact or not; understanding the absolutely important concept of the evolution of human institutions; setting the best example and best practices by example in words and actions; and, because of that, America must be the standard bearer.

The four excerpts form what President Obama said:

And that is why helping farmers feed their own people – or nations educate their children and care for the sick – is not mere charity. It is also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and activists who call for swift and forceful action – it is military leaders in my country and others who understand that our common security hangs in the balance.

Concretely, we must direct our effort to the task that President Kennedy [from the American University Commencement Address] called for long ago. ‘Let us focus,’ he said, ‘on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.’

Furthermore, America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves. For when we don’t, our action can appear arbitrary, and undercut the legitimacy of future intervention – no matter how justified.

I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength.

We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.

Robert F Kennedy: All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert F Kennedy: There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

President Barack Obama: So let us reach for the world that ought to be – that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.

Text of Barack Obama Nobel Prize acceptance speech