There has been an enormous amount of discussion about whether President Obama deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and what his winning implies about the Prize itself. Some of the discussion has been thoughtful, but most, sadly but not surprisingly, has been shrill, cynical, and partisan.
It is always difficult to see with a perspective that is wider than one’s own interests. It’s hard, for example, to try to see myself as my wife, friends, and neighbors see me, since my perspective seems so natural, so obvious that I can’t believe everyone doesn’t share it. The same goes for how we see our nation. We assume everyone should see the U.S. and President Obama as we see them, and are surprised to discover they don’t necessarily share our perspective.
This is part of the issue that has arisen over President Obama’s receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, as historian David Kaiser explains in a superb essay, “Why Obama Won the Prize,” which you can read here.
(I am grateful to my good friend Dr Paul Waibel, professor of history at Belhaven College, Jackson, MS for alerting me to Kaiser’s essay.)