Monday, November 16, 2009

Peace: The Height of Idealism

There is a reason why Americans are having a hard time reconciling with Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize: Pure selfishness.

More than any other American president, Barack Obama is an international. He hails from Indonesia and Pakistan and Kenya; from Hawaii, Kansas, and Chicago’s southside. He is a man of peace if for no other reason than he inspires more oppressed and disenfranchised peoples worldwide than all of the other nation’s leaders combined. It is those Americans who think only of themselves who will fail to appreciate this.

I, too, was surprised at Obama’s selection for the Nobel Peace Prize, not because of his “lack of achievement,” but surprised that a world body (like Norwegian Nobel committee) could actually see.

Idealism aside, Obama appealed to the most basic instinct in human beings—that of being social creatures. He said to us: “Let’s talk.” Nothing promotes peace like “talk”; and no president has been more willing to talk to “the despised” than has Obama.

When he said, “I will talk with Chavez; I will talk with Ahmadinejad,” in one fell swoop, he sent a message—not just to world leaders, but to human beings worldwide: “Talk to those with whom you disagree.” The message is peace.

Not that there is anything wrong with idealism. (The concept of “peace” is the height of idealism.) That Barack Obama graduated from on of the most prestigious universities in America does not matter to many of the world’s dispossessed. They do not see in him, “ A man from Harvard.” In Obama, they see another “dispossessed”—spawned from the soil of a quaint and dusty Third World village. His story is more than an American Dream. To them, it is the dream of billions worldwide.

More than anything, Barack Obama has piqued the imagination of children. From ghettos to “favelas”, from Maui to Mozambique, a half billion Third World children are thinking about being presidents. They are believing now. That is peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good bangin' LC. I admire the President's diverse communicating skills; formal to colloquial or vice versa. "...all things to all men..." (I Cor 9:22). I'm on the peace band wagon, so the international recognition for PEACE sake inspires me, not just the Blackness or ethnicity. Thanks for the words. Tico