Friday, October 9, 2009

NO-bel Peace Prize

For those that don’t know…

I’m a Democrat. This isn’t that surprising I guess. But aside from generally being a Democrat I am also someone who thinks Barack Obama is THAT dude. I think he’s articulate (in a non-“he speaks so well” house negro way), intelligent, etc. Everybody knows this spiel by now but my point is I generally ride for the big homie O but today was pretty surprising even by his standards.

…He won the Nobel Peace Prize…







not sure what I’m gonna say yet…





ok…



…got it.

On one level I definitely understand the selection and approve of it. For his campaign he had to overcome one of the world’s sickest and most pervasive racialized societies to triumph and in the process he brought people together in unprecedented ways. This is true and it was an amazing time to be young, black, (and from Chicago) but I challenge you to look a little deeper. Without taking anything away from him or the moment in history, it was by no means a kumbaya moment of profound racial conciliation or whatever. It was political. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing (he is a politician after all), but that’s what it was. Look at the facts:

1. After 8 years of a terribly unpopular president, the Democrats would’ve had to be completely inept to not win.

2. Obama ran the greatest national campaign ever. He utilized a potent mix of grassroots and major player support that raised money and awareness previously unseen.

3. He still didn’t win by THAT much. (Like 8.5 million, not a whole lot, not the biggest victory ever.)

4. McCain ran a bad campaign. I actually like McCain as far as Republicans go but he let his handlers get the best of him and he lost control of his own direction.

5. Sarah Palin (smh)

So don’t let the warm fuzziness fool you, we ARE NOT in a post-racial society (whatever that means). What we are in is a society that has a really good politician at its helm. A really good politician who has prospered because of his own merit and the failings of his opponents and despite the reality of his own blackness (Patton’s Army and Kansas aside, ONE DROP RULE, whitefolks made it and they have to live with it. HE’S OURS HAHAHA!).

Obama is still that dude and he has the potential to do a lot of good. The world opinion is still in his favor and it is my hope he can parlay that respect and popularity into making different parties come to the table and resolve their beefs. With that said, he doesn’t need a Nobel Peace Prize. Too early. Not even close.

Barack Obama was the sitting US Senator when I was in high school. Years that saw skyrocketing homicide rates for the public school system in Chicago. His Sec. of Education was running that school system. They were complicit in the murder of my peers. So was I. The blood is on all of our hands. The things that lead up to murders like that of Derrion Albert, Chris Pineda, and so many more are failures. Failures of community, family, political systems, economic systems, and school systems lead children to a place where they have no other outlet or resource (or feel like they don’t) for their rage. When that happens they kill each other.

I love Barack Obama. Every time I think of him I’m proud on so many levels (American, Chicagoan, African, etc.). I cannot, however, applaud the victory for someone who sat in the face (and continues to do so) of mass murder and was silent.

Hopefully now you know a lil’ something more…

Nate

PS.
Someone who still probably isn't qualified to win the Nobel Peace Prize but who is a lot closer in my mind is Kevin Coval. He does a lot of great community work in Chicago and Louder Than a Bomb Poetry Slam provides youth with a safe space to express every year. It's an amazing program and KC is a beast.

More info:

Youth violence:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/1811271,arne-duncan-chicago-school-violence-100709.article
http://www.suntimes.com/news/mitchell/1813474,CST-NWS-mitch08.article

Nobel Prize:
http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2009/10/obamas-not-the-1st-a-brief-history-of-black-americans-and-the-nobel-peace-prize/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/world/10nobel.html?_r=2&hp

Kevin Coval/Louder Than a Bomb:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-coval/a-post-olympic-plan-for-a_b_311859.html

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The President actually won by over 8.5 million votes.

nathaniel.a.marshall said...

good info. thanks. i'll make that correction.

ChiO_33 said...

This is Lonyae....
1) The moment Obama picked Arne I could've slapped him
2)SUCH a political move.WAAAAAAAy too early. But WHO GETS MAD AT OBAMA FOR BEING CHOSEN????????? THATS CRAZY. I'm ready for someone to ask him to decline it (and then he'll be considered tactless, seriously, with some people he can never win) But if there is any anger or annoyance, it should be directed towards Nobel committee
3) We are NOT all guilty of the murders, but it's up to us now to take responsibility for what comes next. Are we going to take our little degrees and not do anything to help Chicago? Then we are guilty.