Pres. Obama Accepts Nobel Peace Prize, But It’s Up to Us to End This War

By Julianne Hing Dec 10, 2009

From President Obama’s speech to accept the Nobel Peace Prize today:

There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago: "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely creates new and more complicated ones." As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak, nothing passive, nothing naive in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King. But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitlers armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaidas leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason. … So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace.

Philosophize all you want, buddy. But today I found this other clip, a little old, from back when you were running for president. It’s a very quick fifteen seconds that I’ve replayed over and over today. Barack Obama was never going to be the beacon of progressive change for our communities and he was never going to accomplish anything with any sort of ideological purity, and the political and military landscape has changed significantly since those fifteen seconds back in 2007. I know all that, and I’m still kind of missing the guy in that clip, even if it was its own kind of show back then, too. But I also feel like with this speech today, Obama’s successfully, finally, disabused all of us of the notion that he’s going to be our savior. It’s not just that nobody else is going to do our hard work for us, it’s not just that we’re on our own. It’s that we are our best hope for ending this war and for protecting the rights of workers and immigrants and women, and fighting to end the devastation of racial and social inequity. So for that, I suppose, I owe you thanks, President Obama. We get the message. photo credit: White House