The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The NobelPeace Prize: A participation award?

When I first heard that Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I laughed. Not two weeks before, Saturday Night Live had aired a sketch in which Obama was unable to check anything off his list of things to accomplish in office. Then CNN dedicated a good amount of air-time the next week, providing a rebuttal to the comedy show- funny. My friend John Michael Wilshusen said, “Giving Obama this award is like the Grammy’s giving Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers a lifetime achievement award.” Again, this is all just so funny.

Then I stopped laughing and I thought- somehow or other I have to come to terms with the fact that a very fashionable orator is running our country and filling the role as Commander in Chief. I still have to respect him, even if I don’t particularly think he’s adequate. So I spent my fall break attempting to come up with reasons that I am alright with Obama as a Peace Prize Laureate.

My very first instinct was to actually look into what the Peace Prize is. The candidate can be nominated by a national leader and is then selected by the Norweigan Nobel Committee, which consists of five current or previous members of Norweigan Parliament. There is an attempt then to look for the candidate who has encouraged fraternity and cooperation among countries.

I spent a good part of my summer in Europe and was actually in Weimar, Germany when Obama visited Buchenwald. I understand the positive impact that he has had on the way that European countries see Americans. The Germans were thrilled to feel connected to the US and accept our apology for bombing Dresden. I recognize his influence in that regard and I appreciate it.

The second step that I took was to look up who has won the prize in previous years. Although there are many well-deserving names upon the list, like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa, there are many more that I spent a long time thinking, “Wait, what did they do again?” And then I spent a lot more time trying to line Obama up with Mother Teresa.

Wait, how many times did she appear on GQ again?

Alright, so that step didn’t quite go as planned. Fred Armisen was still ringing in my ears with his words “JACK and SQUAT!”

At this point in the process, I was scrambling. Much to my frustration I learned that Obama could in fact have turned it down, as Le Duc Tho did in 1973, for jointly negotiating the peace of Vietnam. Yet Obama accepted it for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Sounds a lot like Europe saying, “We forgive you America,” to me.

So what to do next?

Well, if nothing else I have learned to stop laughing. I will acknowledge that Mr. President gave an excellent acceptance speech and that I can expect a better attitude while traveling. But what about all the things that Obama hasn’t done? What about SNL’s fairly accurate checklist? Guantanamo Bay is still open, and the situation in Iraq is worsening, even if my neighbors do have a nicer car. It is definitely an awful representation of our world today that the Nobel Peace Prize is being given as a participation award. So, maybe that’s what I can appreciate him for.

Dear Mr. President, thanks for showing up.

Lauren Smart is a junior creative writing major. She can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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