A Republican friend of mine emailed me a film clip that showed a room full of very old white guys celebrating the fact that America had lost its chance to host the 2016 Olympics. The note attached to the email was: "Is this what we have become?" I told him not to overreact, but I was being kind.
When America lost the Olympics, Republican leadership high-fived Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the handful of other odd balls who now define their political party. I suppose that crowd was gleeful that America had lost revenue of more than six billion dollars. Or maybe they were happy that America had lost a projected 400,000 jobs that would have been generated from those games. But we would be kidding ourselves if we believed that bitter crowd was only celebrating those losses. That became clear when we saw the same crowd whine like colicky babies when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Disturbed red state radio hosts told their listeners that this great honor for all Americans only occurred because of international affirmative action. Glenn Beck told his audience that the Nobel Peace Prize should have been given to leaders of his teabagging crowd. I wondered if he was referring to that same crowd who held up signs with images of Obama pictured as a monkey. Why waste the Nobel Peace Prize on an American president when you could give it to that crowd?
Think of how much fun the conspiracy theory conservatives will have with this new development. I'm sure the same crowd that brought us the birther conspiracy and the death panel conspiracy, will all jump on a crazy train and ride this for weeks. It's clear that a segment of Americans who watched the GOP lose relevance in the last national election are still so angry that they have lost walking around sense. For them it is impossible to see that the most prestigious peace prize in the world was given to all Americans. The award announces to the world that our vote for Obama was a vote for a transformative figure who has a vision that is different than the one America has projected for eight dark years. That vision is one that moves the world toward nuclear disarmament by having an American President encourage treaties rather than ignoring them. It furthers the possibility of easing tensions in the Muslim world after eight years of war-driven hostility. It is a vision that recognizes that intelligent diplomatic dialogue can rebuild the ruin left behind from the W years.
This Oslo committee appears to be thrilled that Obama's goals for the world are more in line with Woodrow Wilson rather than Genghis Khan.
When Americans elected Obama, they voted for that same vision. All Americans who made that choice share in this honor. We are already seeing benefits. For the first time in eight years, the Pew organization is able to report that a 25-nation poll shows that America is finally again viewed favorably by the rest of the world. The only people condemning that trend appears to be the Taliban, and a small petulant crowd that is still angry about the 2008 elections.