My first reaction upon hearing the news about the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama was that it was way too premature. My second thought was that Obama ought to decline the Prize, citing how much work remains yet to be done, and the fact that as Commander-in-chief of a nation still at war in two countries, his hands are too bloodied to accept the Prize at this time.
But then I read a couple of comments on Twitter by folks meaning to pooh-pooh the award. “Oh my Gosh! I just looked under my water bottle cap – I WON THE NOBEL!!” said one. “Just returned from McDonalds – and they’re giving away a Nobel Prize in every Happy Meal!” said another.
Those got me to thinking a bit more.
Some commentators have pointed out the award is not only a “you’re on the right track, keep going” encouragement to Obama – it’s also a challenge to him to live up to the honor through his future actions. But those intended-to-be-snarky comments made me realize that the award actually does involve everyone – it should be under every bottle cap and tucked into every Happy Meal.. It’s not just Obama being simultaneously encouraged and challenged – it’s all of us. He’s just our representative on the world stage, after all.
So think of it this way:
Congratulations, American Citizen, YOU just got awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize – now what’re we gonna do to live up to it?