Thursday, December 10, 2009

On Peace: Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

In his acceptance speech in Oslo today, the President said:
The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached — their fundamental faith in human progress — that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.
The President goes on to talk about our "moral compass." Prior to these quotes, he talked about "three ways that we can build a just and lasting peace." This was a very long section of his speech, with concrete examples. Here are the three ways (direct quotes):
  1. First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to actually change behavior — for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something.
  2. This brings me to a second point — the nature of the peace that we seek. For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based on the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting.
  3. Third, a just peace includes not only civil and political rights — it must encompass economic security and opportunity. For true peace is not just freedom from fear, but freedom from want.
Less than half of the President's speech was about war. Once again, lazy and sensationalistic news reporters have grabbed at what is easy and all around them. Instead of thoughtful consideration of the full text, they shoot out off-the-cuff, half-formed emotional opinions about President Obama's war stance, reacting only to headlines and buzz words. It is quite obvious that Obama is a man of peace. To see that, all you need to do is read the full text or watch the video (part 1 of 4).

In closing, consider this big applause generating quote from his speech: "Let us reach for the world that ought to be — that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls."

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