Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obama's Nobel Speech- Some Thoughts on War and Peace and Society

I wanted to do a full analysis of Obama's speech, the transcript of which I just finished reading. But I haven't the time to do it justice at the moment. So a just a few thoughts and impressions here.

I will say that I was impressed. By his opening, by who he chose to quote and acknowledge (not who you'd necessarily expect), and by the issues he brought up and discussed. I like how he acknowledges the need to struggle against evil even though we cannot win in our lifetimes, and I like the fact that he uses his brain when he talks and his ideas are well thought out and presented- on both moral/ethical and intellectual grounds.

I think there were some issues that he did not bring up, and could have, maybe should have. But he chose to stick with the obvious topics pretty much throughout- although it was bold to give specific examples of countries that fell short. Not so PC but nothing too offensive to anyone either.

I'd need to do a lot of thinking before I figured out myself exactly where I think he's right and where I disagree. As he's obviously put a lot more thought into the subject of war and peace than I have. (Maybe that's as it should be, maybe not.)

Not everyone will agree with everything he says. But I do think that there should be people in the society who think differently from the leader of the society when it comes to issues like this. Let the leaders take the stance that's best for the whole world overall, if someone must. In general, it should be the job of individuals, not a leader, to be wholly anti-war and stand up for the individual lives that are destroyed in fighting. Only if you have those voices raised up, and heard, can you have a leader who argues, like Obama is doing, that some wars do need to be fought as a matter of conscience (and he said it very well).

I think sometimes you need people around who remind you of all sides, the collective and the individual rights and welfare, who can help society find the right balance for each situation. Every country's job is to set up a system in which the right things in that balance can happen; where no one person's plan of action blocks consideration of any other option.

I do like how he cites people from JFK to Nixon to a pope. It's kind of fascinating, how he works-it's like how he made a staff out of his electionary opponents (Biden, Clinton) and admires Reagan as a president despite how different they all are.

Here's a sampling of which words he used most frequently- can be telling sometimes. I saw elsewhere on the internet that he used the word war double the number of times he used peace- but I don't think it was quite that drastic, he used peace a lot too, and one cannot entirely forget context (not taking into account if he said something like, no more war, for example). But for what it's worth, and because wordles are lots of fun, take a look.

Wordle: Obama Nobel Acceptance Speech

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