It took me half the day to get over my surprise at learning our president won the Nobel Peace Prize, only nine promising months (with few concrete achievements) into his presidency. I did the same dance of cynicism as many people did, and I loved all the satire on here, especially Con Chapman.
But late tonight, after watching all the evening news shows, I changed my mind: I'm proud of him. I read a Christian Science Monitor piece laying out all the semi-hopeless, or early peace warriors who got the award -- Carter, Arafat and Begin for 1978; Rabin and Arafat in 1994; both dashed. I wound up comparing Obama to the "Peace Moms" of Northern Ireland -- a very personal award, an investment in their power and charisma years before the peace accords were signed.
I think it's comparable to what the committee is doing with Obama -- he's a promising young man with a different way of looking at the world who's inspired a lot of people, globally and at home. He's only taken some first steps - and those of us here know he's disappointed in the realm of torture, surveillance and state secrets -- but the rest of the world looks on him with longing, and wants to encourage his best self. The not particularly poetic Nicholas Sarkozy made my favorite comment of the day about Obama's prize: "The award marks Americans return to the hearts of the people of the world." I can live with that. They have been waiting for us.