…is, as most things seem to be for Generation X, a mixed blessing, not to mention a heavy one.
Like most people I was surprised. At first, I was pleased, since Obama is the first GenXer to win The Nobel Peace Prize as JenX67 points out on her blog, referring to noted generational expert Neil Howe.
But true to GenX form I almost immediately felt apprehensive, wondering if this “award” would end up being more of a burden to the point of being an albatross around Obama’s neck, thus hampering his ability to govern effectively. God knows he’s already got enough obstacles to overcome. Another is not needed.
In this particular case I think my pessimism was not unwarranted. No sooner had the announcement been made then people immediately started bashing Obama as well as The Nobel Prize Committee. Of course, this is nothing new. There was similar reaction when it was award to Jimmy Carter and Al Gore. It was probably no different when Teddy Roosevelt won it in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson won it 1919, the only other sitting U.S. Presidents to be awarded the prize.
That didn’t make the ridicule and stone throwing any less bothersome, especially because so much of it was just petty and juvenile. No doubt many of these people were the same to cheer when Chicago, a U.S. city was passed over to host the Olympic games. You know the political resentment runs deep when people cheer against their own country or refuse to take pride in one of their own citizens being awarded something like The Nobel Peace Prize simply because they don’t like Obama. It’s more than just sad. It’s fucked up.
But I suppose these sorts of whiners can’t, nor should they, be silenced. After all this is America. Everyone is allowed their say even if it is no more than reactionary kind of Tourettes.
At least one other American leader, John McCain, a guy who arguably has more reason than most to take a shot at Obama, offered a dignified response, when he was quoted as saying:
“I can’t divine [the Nobel Committee's] intentions, but I think part of their decision-making was expectations. And I’m sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to. But as Americans, we’re proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category.”
As per usual McCain is practically a lone voice in the wilderness.
In the end, Obama’s detractors can piss and moan all they like, they can say it is a joke, that the award means nothing — although one can’t help but wonder if they really believe that why are they expending so much energy and hot air saying so; if means nothing then why say anything at all? — but as Christopher Beam suggests in his slate article, though it may in part make Obama’s job more difficult, expectations being elevated even further, it also offers him more clout. Consider that he is no longer just President of the United State Barack Obama, he is now President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize winnter Barack Obama. That may not impressing the scraming lunatics that show up at town hall meetings NOT to part take in a rational public debate but to shout down those with whom they disagree or Fox News but then they were/are never going to be impressed by their president. That too is fucked up. But what can you do with people who’s behavoir is fucked up? Simple. Fuck em! Because it will mean something on the world stage, which is, at least in part, where our President needs to perform.