Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Let it begin with me

Peace, Obama

You've probably heard (and maybe made)  indignant arguments in the face of President Obama's premature winning of the Nobel Peace Prize. Christopher Hitchens in Newsweek makes the  "he's not worthy" argument.

"Here we have the Nobel committee's first 'virtual' award," he said, referring to the committee spokesman's statement that the award is sometimes given not for things accomplished but to enhance work underway.

Not buying it, Hitchens warns Obama, "don't tempt fate by accepting a prize for a race you haven't yet entered, let alone won."

Should the prize only be awarded for actually "winning" the peace? If so, it wouldn't be awarded often, if ever. And just how much peace do you have to win? At the end of a war, people aren't usually feeling congratulatory. They want to bury their friends and get home to start the blessed business as usual outside of war.

As far as I know, peace is still a dream that some of us have. But you have to have the dream before you can realize it. In writing about how new ideas and innovations spread, Everett Rogers laid out six stages: first, there's attention to the idea, then interest, evaluation, trial, adoption, and confirmation.

If nothing else, the Obama award got everybody's attention. Including Obama's. What that means remains to be seen.

Rogers also showed that once 20% of people adopt an idea, the idea becomes unstoppable. It will spread until it becomes not something new and uncomfortable, but the norm.

If 20% of us would adopt the idea of creating peace through justice, education, politics, and transformation, not just through greater power and fear, the Nobel committee might have something to work with.

Hitchens warns, though I haven't the vaguest notion why, that " the president may live to wish that he didn't go all the way to Stockholm to accept the unearned adulation of what Saul Bellow once called the Good Intentions Paving Company."

Okay, I do know why: he wanted to be clever.

But good intentions are the start. When what you intend is peace, it's not really likely that you'll end up on the way to hell, even if you got a little push to get started.

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