The epitome of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The man not only preached peace, it oozed from his every orifice. When the white establishment notched up its machine of violence and oppression, when the police were wielding their batons and letting dogs maul peaceful protestors, when white men bombed black churches under the cover of darkness and killed four little black girls, when defenders of white supremacy hid in the shadows and aimed their weapons of destruction at men who only wanted equality, Dr. King’s philosophy was to love those who meant us harm. Violence was not the answer. A true man of peace would know better.
When I think of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the last thing I would think of would be a person who would condone war as a means to peace. Although it is believed that war is an unavoidable part of the human social condition, people who initiate wars, people who contribute to wars, people who escalate wars, people who dream of wars, aren’t usually thought of as Nobel Peace Prize contenders. While we might appreciate our soldiers, nobody gets the Peace Prize for their ability to kill and win wars. If that was the case, J. Robert Oppenheimer would’ve won the prize for being the father of the atomic bomb. And companies like Lockheed and Boeing would be consistent Peace Prize contenders and winners for their latest and greatest killing machine with exponentially more fire power than last year’s weapon of destruction.
Normally, the Peace Prize is aimed squarely at people who have demonstrated an unwavering objective towards peace. Dr. King preached incessantly about turning the other cheek. One has to admit, that sounds like someone who is doing their damnedest to keep the peace and is worthy of being recognized as such.
President Barack Obama is no man of peace. He has demonstrated time and time again that he has no real desire to work for an end to war. His whole response to the status quo of inequality and subjugation is to look the other way or to simply do what the majority of people want in order to keep whatever remains of his popular appeal. For a black man to become President of the United States, it wouldn’t look good if he supported the black community. These days, a President of the United States has to keep the status quo of racial inequality that is becoming more and more popular as more people try to convince everyone that racism is a thing of the past regardless of the inequality that continues to manifest. A man of peace would not be afraid to talk about inequality because a man of peace isn’t searching for status or material wealth or power or anything else that might be an impetus for war.
A man of peace does not fight a war in an oxymoronic bid for peace. A man who fights war is a man trying to kill, maim, and obliterate his opponents into silence or submission. The peace that is gained is the peace of intimidation and domination. It’s the kind of peace that a parent might gain from their child with a painful slap across the child’s face. It’s the kind of peace a man or woman gains from their significant other when he or she is aggressive and regularly uses violence to enforce their way. It is the kind of peace that comes not from understanding but from overwhelming power and an ability to conquer. A man of peace does not stand up to accept a globally recognized prize of peace with a promise to escalate war.
If Mr. Obama did not hold the key to the most destructive war machine on the face of the planet, his appetite for war would be much different. But since we have confidence in our ability to kill with utter force, we can afford to escalate hostilities on armies with only a fraction of our troops, strength, destructive capability, or our wealth. It is always far easier to escalate war against people who are poor and a people who are believed to have no redeeming values. On the other hand, a man of peace would find a way to keep guns silent and keep destruction at bay.
When the Nobel committee announced that Mr. Obama was the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, many people wondered why. He had no real record to point to show that he earned such recognition. Many people thought his selection was premature. But others said that he would earn his prize with his future decisions and accomplishments. In the aftermath of Mr. Obama’s predecessor, a man who invited those who wished us harm to engage us in conflict with the infamous words “bring’em on”, nearly anyone who replaced him would have looked like a real peace prize contender.
But today, we see exactly what kind of man was selected. Mr. Obama is a man who refers to himself as a Commander in Chief at war. In many respects, he sounds exactly like his predecessor who professed to be a man of peace as he initiated two wars. Mr. Obama professes to be a man of peace as well. And as soon as he kills the enemies of the United States, as soon as we kill everyone who does not share the values or our high minded majority, we will have the kind of peace that is attainable only through conflict. But a man of peace knows that such a peace is a temporary thing. A true man of peace doesn’t talk about peace while keeping the world’s mightiest war machine in his back pocket.