“Everybody knows good news always sleeps till noon,” Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies once sang. Not today for U.S. President Barack Obama. This morning, it was announced that he has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, making him the third sitting U.S. President and the fourth overall to do so.
Congratulations to him.
Now on to the tough question: What, exactly, has he accomplished nine months into his presidency to deserve such an honor?
Theodore Roosevelt was president for half a decade, with years of national service, which included leading the country through the Spanish-American War on the battlefield, when he won the honor in 1906. Woodrow Wilson was six years into his own presidency when the Prize was awarded to him in 1919. I despise Woodrow Wilson as a man because he was a white supremacist, but he was undeniably good at his job. He brought the U.S. through World War I and, in its aftermath, conceived and tirelessly promoted the League of Nations, a forerunner of the United Nations.
Jimmy Carter, a U.S. President more notable for his world-peace efforts after he left office, had to wait 21 years after his term ended. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela were never U.S. Presidents, but to ask what they did to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize would be to ask the obvious.
And then there is the 44th U.S. President. Yes, his message of hope is admirable, but so far it’s only rhetoric. Here’s hoping he lives up to the title of Nobel Peace Prize winner after the fact.