What Peace Looks Like

obama-peace-350During the 2008 election, candidate Barack Obama was derisively referred to as “The One.” His opponent’s attack ads implied he was the Messiah. “He has anointed himself ready to carry the burden of The One,” went the infamous TV spot. Some wondered if this wasn’t a dog whistle to the Apocalypse-minded Americans who weren’t put off enough by a half-African man with the middle name of Hussein—he could also be the anti-Christ!!

Obama won the election. And then just to make matters worse, he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

“I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it,” penned right-wing blogspot and Fox Newser Erik Erikson.

Ed Rollins opined on CNN, ”I think it has diminished the award itself.”

“At first I thought the announcement of the prize was a joke. On further reflection, the Nobel Committee has made itself a joke,” said Michael Gerson, a Bush speechwriter.

The general consensus on the right was Obama didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. They thought it should go to Reagan. Because Reagan is conservatives’ “The One.” Former “ambassador” John Bolton hilariously said George W. Bush should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, the president who preemptively invaded Iraq under false pretenses with fictionalized intelligence—That One.

The Obama-doesn’t-deserve-the-Nobel-Peace-Prize sentiment somehow seamlessly morphed into an Appeaser-in-Chief meme. During the next presidential election, Mitt Romney claimed Obama started his presidency off with an apology tour. Right-wing author, Michelle Malkin, said Obama was “Jihadi-Coddling” in regards to the oft-debunked Benghazi conspiracy theory. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann demanded, “President Obama must immediately end his doctrine of appeasement and weakness toward Iran.” Obama is more willing to negotiate with Iran than Republicans, bristled right-wingers.

(Right, because unlike the GOP, Iran is opting to feign moderation in order to get their way.)

Cut to: Nelson Mandela’s funeral and an impromptu handshake between Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro. (Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela had a very close mutual admiration. Fidel was a guest of honor at Mandela’s inauguration.) Cue: Right-wing freak out. Question: Should Obama have punched Castro instead? He was at a funeral for a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s become the symbol of human dignity: was he supposed to snub a fellow mourner? Was he supposed to act—to borrow a descriptive word invoking fear of black men—like a thug?

Alfred Nobel, whose fortune and name endows the aforementioned prizes, invented dynamite and ballistite; an explosive and a rocket propellant. He held patents to tools of war. Just as the name of the father of yellow journalism, Joseph Pulitzer, graces the most prestigious and highbrow journalism award of all. The point is: this stuff is complicated. And diplomacy is complicated. And peace is complicated.

Yes, this Nobel Peace Prize winner and alleged Appeaser in Chief is culpable in shooting Osama bin Laden in the face. Yes, this Nobel Peace Prize winner and alleged Appeaser in Chief has a questionable drone policy that could or could not be helping or hurting U.S. interests. This Nobel Peace Prize winner and alleged Appeaser in Chief has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other president in history. Like I said, this stuff is complicated.

We’re a nation with war fatigue. We’ve been at war for so long we’ve forgotten what peace means or what it looks like. If Americans wanted their president to hobble around singing “Bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” we had that choice. (It was a landslide in 2008: 10 million more Americans voted for Obama than Acappella McCain. That’s 365 electoral votes to 173.)

tina-dupuy-2013Instead we’re wading into the murky waters of international relations. There was a phone call with Iran. U.N. inspectors are in Syria. There was a handshake with Fidel’s brother.

And to bring these complex issues home, I’ll end by quoting the wife-beating deadbeat dad, John Lennon: “Imagine all the people living life in peace…”

Tina Dupuy
Taking Eternal Vigilance Too Far


  1. JoeWeinstein says

    Tina is setting up a straw man here. ‘Obama doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace prize’ was not a cry just from racists or rightists. For this life-long Dem and 2008 supporter of Obama, Obama indeed did NOT deserve a genuine peace prize of any kind simply because he hadn’t DONE anything yet to deserve one. All he offered was a promise of change from Bush.

    But we can now give him credit: he did manage to achieve far more US and other casualties in Afghanistan than Bush did.

    Yes, thanks to Obama, UN inspectors ARE in Syria – not to supervise peace or even a truce – which small-scale but timely and decisive USA reaction to Assad could have brought; but rather to supervise removal of chemical weapons so that the Assad regime and its opponents – whether oppressed moderates or opportunistic extremists – will be free to use every other kind of weapon to continue their civil war, and to continue killing thousands and making refugees of millions.

    Yes, there is ‘peace’ – the peace of the dead – in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa – just like there was peace in Rwanda during the Bill Clinton administration – the peace that arises when the one nation with force to stage limited but decisive action to stop genocides simply sits on the sidelines and instead merrily proclaims establishment of an ‘Atrocity Prevention Board’.

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