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Obama richly deserves Nobel Peace Prize
By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board
Barack Obama has inspired. He has elevated. He has brought hope to people around the world. He has reinvigorated dialogues that seemed long dead, or hidden on back burners.
For that, on Friday, he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Obama’s work for peace is still promise. Critics, even some supporters, suggest it’s too early to hand this young president the world’s most prestigious award. After all, it’s a frighteningly exclusive club; it doesn’t, for instance, include Gandhi.
But Obama does share something with many who have accepted this award before him including Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Lech Walesa: The ability to lift eyes upward, to prompt dreams of a better future.
The prize is only sometimes given out for accomplishments. As commonly, it is awarded to give strength to a position, to provide gravitas for a noble individual struggling for peace against a corrupt system.
Obama was chosen as a way to welcome the United States back into the global community after years of unilateral policy. This award is therefore not just to the man, but his nation. And it’s focused as much on what we can do, and what with Obama as president we seem to have the will to do, as on what he’s already accomplished in the short time he’s been in office.
He humbly acknowledged that in his acceptance announcement on Friday.
Already, his administration has reopened discussions with Iran, addressed nuclear disarmament and confronted the Western-Islamic divide, the source of so much that is wrong with the world today.
So, maybe, Obama, to date, hasn’t earned a Peace Prize for sealed deals. But he brings hope.
And, sometimes, hope is worth rewarding.
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