Students React to Obama’s Prize

There has been much buzz about the nation since President Barack Obama was announced the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner on Friday, Oct. 9.

Reactions around the world have ranged from shock and dismay to satisfaction.

As journalists and politicians weigh in on the controversial news, UT students also participate in the discussion, offering their own opinions of the president’s most recent honor.

Kristen Bell, president of the UT College Democrats, believes awarding the Peace Prize to Obama was the right choice.

Shane Twaddell, president of the UT College Republicans, feels awarding Obama was a mistake.

“It’s a slap in the face to much more deserving candidates,” Twaddell said.

“I guess overall I’m a little astounded he got it because he really has not done much besides make history [as the first U.S. black president].”

Bell disagrees.

“I think it was an excellent selection,” she wrote in a statement.  “President Obama has taken great steps to reengage America in nuclear weapon [sic] disarment. He even has set an end date for Iraq.”

Though some students lean slightly toward the side of Bell, many students on campus appear to echo Twaddell’s dissatisfaction with the judges’ decision to award Obama.

“I don’t know what he [Obama] has done exactly to deserve it,” said freshman Brittany Cannon.

Another freshman, Jenna Haslan, said she used to be a fan of President Obama, but isn’t as much of one now.

“I don’t see how he’s brought peace; if anything he’s brought debt,” she said.

Freshman Tinisha Turnbull doesn’t understand why exactly Obama has been given such a high honor.

“I don’t think he did anything to win compared to other people who actually did stuff,” she said.  “I don’t know why. I just want to know why.”

Junior Shawn Sturges believes Obama only won the prize because of popularity.

“I don’t think he should have gotten it right away because he’s so new to office,” he said.  “If he wasn’t so new to office, it would be different.”

Other students who do not necessarily agree with the president receiving such a high award can, however, understand why the award would be given.

Senior Randall Johnson saw the award as given to Obama based on ideals the president has and things he strives to accomplish in office.

“It’s interesting in that he won it based on proposals that were made rather than anything that happened,” he said.  “He did make proposals in a very grand scale, so I guess I can see why they thought he was deserving.”

Junior Jessica Bullock believes the award is “semi-deserved.”

“I don’t know if they should have given it to him based on proposals,” she said.  “I think it’s a good gesture.”

Bell believes the steps president Obama has taken so far have not always been popular but need to be credited.

“He stood firm in what is right,” she wrote.  “That needs to be recognized. He was a perfect choice.”

Twaddell thinks Obama is being rewarded for his popularity.

“I feel some people wanted to give it [the Nobel Peace Prize] to him because they are just happy to have someone in office who isn’t Bush,” he said.

Twaddell added that while there are some republicans who are certainly glad Bush is no longer in office, this contrast between presidents hardly validates the high honor that has been given to Obama.

0 thoughts on “Students React to Obama’s Prize

  1. Gandhi received a deserved Nobel Peace Award. It was deserved. Obama’s although making unbelievable history as the first U.S. mixed race president should not be on the considered with the likes of Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. But then again, neither should Al Gore. The credibility of the prize in general has diminished greatly in the past decade.

  2. “He overcame racism to be elected President. The reason no one has brought this up is because we as a nation would really prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist”

    Maybe nobody brought it up because for the majority of us, the color of his skin is not as much an issue to us as it is to you.

    “If that doesn’t merit a Nobel Prize, I don’t know what does.”

    Nobody is saying President Obama’s accomplishments are without merit, or undeserving of recognition. What we are saying is that his accomplishments, thus far, are not worthy of this particular prize – the Peace Prize. Personally, I think awarding the peace prize, at this juncture in time, was a bit premature; we still have troops in Iraq, Guantanamo is still not closed, we are about to send a surge of troops into Afghanistan, the patriot act was reconfirmed albeit in abbreviated form; North Korea, in an act of defiance, launched more medium range missiles this week and is scheduled to launch more soon; Iran just announced it has added another indigenous fighter jet to its air force; Russia has announced it is amending its national security protocols to include the use of preemptive nuclear weapons for self defense, U.S. armed forces reported that they exceeded their recruiting quota for the year by 5%, Israel is powder keg that is about to blow wide open, ad infinitum. I don’t know about the rest of the world but I do not feel any more secure about the state of things than I did a year ago; perhaps I should just put my head in the sand and things will seem better tomorrow. Or perhaps if I just listened to Obama’s message and didn’t read the daily news headlines, then I too could get on board with this whole idea that the world is on a path leading to rainbows and unicorns. The problem is, I and a lot of others like me, read the news papers every day and what we are reading simply does not paint a picture of progress toward peace on a regional scale much less a global one.

  3. The first thing to note of critics is the obvious lack of having read Alfred Nobel’s will and the criteria for the award. Just as well, there seems to be a lack of understanding of the process. You have to be nominated first to be even considered. That may explain why I read so many comments like “I should have gotten the peace prize.” Sounds more like something Beavis would say.

    Whether I agree with Nobel’s criteria, it’s his will, his prize, and his rules. Nobel’s criteria includes that the nomination be based on last year, not this year. The second set of criteria doesn’t state the realization of peace. God knows, if we had to wait for actual realization of a person’s efforts, Martin Luther King Jr would still be waiting for his prize.

    To be able to say it is a “slap in the face to much more deserving candidates,” requires having a clue who was nominated. But who might these be? I haven’t been able to track down the list.

    “I don’t know what he [Obama] has done exactly to deserve it,” just states an obvious ignorance of the criteria or world events. The less obvious is that it speaks to our (U.S.) ignorance of how the rest of the world sees things.

    And ““I don’t see how he’s brought peace” returns to the the original point of not knowing what the peace prize is awarded for.

    The nature of most criticisms and criteria speaks less to whether the award is appropriately deserved and more to the general ignorance of the public.

  4. Actually, it was not Obamas fault that the Prize of diminution was going to be awarded to him, making him the butt of jokes. This is what you get for being black.

  5. “and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”
    A Nobel 1896

    Fraternity yes
    Reduction army yes: he took the rockets from away from Russia
    Sitting in peace conferences yes
    3 out of 3 for Obama

    : As we see it, Obama did all 3 things therefore he deserves the prize, on the other hand many great guys like Mandela, King, Menchu and Mother Teresa did not deserve it according to A Nobel’s will. Funny Arafat yes he deserved it. He sat on a peace conference. The Norway parliament followed Nobel criteria.
    He won by a unanimous decision. They explained it clearly. Their prize. Their award. Their decision. Deal with it. (might as well because there is nothing you can do about it)


    For those who naively insist that Obama has not accomplished anything:

    1. decreed that interrogators must follow techniques outlined in the Army Field Manual when questioning terrorism suspects.
    2. told top military officials to do whatever planning necessary to “execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq.”
    3. ordered the Guantanamo detention center shut within a year.
    4. froze all white house staff salaries of $100.000.00 or more.
    5. overturning the so-called Mexico City policy that forbids U.S. funding for family planning programs that offer abortion.
    6. lifting Bush’s limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
    7. declared once again to restore science to its rightful place. “The days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over,” he said
    8. tells the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” 9. reversed a post-9/11 policy making it easier for government agencies to deny requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act.
    10. repealed a Bush executive order that allowed former presidents or their heirs to claim executive privilege in an effort to keep records secret.
    11. required closure of cia secret black site prisons abroad.

  6. The Elephant in the Room

    Let’s face it. When the news of President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize hit the news, it caught almost everyone off guard. From the President himself to everyone across the U.S. and the rest of the world, people everywhere were surprised to hear he had won. After the surprise came the questioning. What did he do to win that most prestigious of awards? What accomplishment could possibly rate that honor? He hasn’t restored peace in the Middle East or eradicated poverty in the free world. Perhaps it was given in honor of what he may accomplish. Even the recipient himself seemed to be at a loss for concrete words as to the why.

    So rather than rehash all the various reasons offered for the award or dispute the naysayers who only wish to slander, I will instead offer up another possibility that is in reality the enormous elephant in the room.

    He overcame racism to be elected President. The reason no one has brought this up is because we as a nation would really prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist. Slavery? Discrimination? Oh no no no. Not us. We have a constitution and it guarantees rights to all America’s citizens.

    His supporters would prefer not to focus on that because it might taint his presidency.

    His detractors don’t want to admit they’re not ready for that particular change or acknowledge it even exists.

    Still others seem to be in the dark about the depths of racism in this country.

    The President is African American and despite Mr. Obama’s best efforts to avoid openly acknowledging the fact, simply by rising to that office in this so-called land of freedom and equality, he overcame unbelievable obstacles to rise above in a country where racism is still very much alive and well. Certainly, it’s presence is (very) thinly veiled, but it remains nonetheless. And everyone here and abroad knows that.

    So what did Mr. Obama do to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize? He proved to the self-avowed greatest country on this planet that it was time for a change and that he was the man to take this country and hopefully the world to the next level of freedom and equality. For the first time in the history of this country an African-American was elected to the highest office in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    If that doesn’t merit a Nobel Prize, I don’t know what does.

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