When I was in the middle east this summer, folks all over the street would just yell positive things about America and Obama. I don't think that's ever happened to me before - just so much genuine excitement. Certainly, I think folks around the world are still waiting and seeing, but it's like the US has a clean slate. The world's willing to give us another chance and I think that has everything to do with his presidency.
I was talking with a friend and she pointed out that she felt like the award had at least a little to do with the fact that Obama is incredibly "trendy" these days. He's become a celebrity figure, not just a politician. Nobel Peace Prizes should be popularity contests. And she may be right, but it also occurs to me that his "trendiness" is another one of his great accomplishments.
For too long marginalized communities and race relations in the states is a topic that has been deemed "too serious" for casual conversation and "too controversial" for popular discussion. I think that Obama's campaign and election has changed that, something that activists have been struggling to do ever since the 70s.
More importantly, the value of diplomacy (supposedly what he purports) and empathy hasn't been validated in american (and thus world) politics in a really long time. And now it's trendy. Now folks vote for it. But that's always been the goal, right? for peace and empathy to be important in popular culture?
I dunno... not totally complete with my thoughts, but was curious about what other folks thought. Definitely surprised, though. Definitely surprised.
Hey look... rachel maddow kind of agrees with me!