ELY, MINN. — The Nobel Peace Prize is to be awarded to individuals who confer great “benefits to mankind” during the preceding year. Webster’s dictionary defines benefit as “anything contributing to an improvement in condition.”
We can feed the body, but it is equally important to feed the soul. To say that President Barack Obama has done nothing to deserve the Nobel, as many have since the announcement last week, is to deny the power of the human spirit and the power of ideas.
President Obama’s message of peace, tolerance, respect and cooperation has been resonating with people worldwide because ultimately that is what all people desire.
The spirit of hope is a powerful thing. To ridicule it is to diminish us as human beings. The Nobel Prize was awarded this year for a message of hope that essentially fed the world’s commonality — its soul.
Like the humanitarian who wins for the acts or the scientist who wins for the discovery, it is incomprehensible to separate the message from the messenger.
Our perspective has narrowed
The Nobel Prize has not changed. Our perspective has narrowed. “Great benefits” to mankind has never been limited to tangible ones.
President Obama’s message has, for this moment in time, changed the world view. By awarding the prize, the Nobel Committee has asked everyone to build on the president’s message, not tear it down.
This moment is our moment. Denigrate it and this moment will fade — and our great opportunity will be lost.
C.A. Arneson lives on a lake in the Ely area.