As the recipient of the Ronald Reagan Academic Achievement Award, I know what it is like to have to live up to the pressures and expectations of a prestigious honor.
President Obama should have politely turned down the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and should have given it to one of those ballsy human rights activists rotting away in some Third World hellhole. He would have come across as incredible Noble and it would have become an iconic historic moment celebrated in his presidential library.
Instead, everyone who refers to him as a Nobel laureate now will mention it with an eyeroll or a smirk.
How great would life be if we were rewarded for what people hope we might achieve?
Republicans are just giddy over this news, which will serve as a bottomless well of sarcasm for years to come. RNC Chairman Michael Steele taunted Obama, saying he “won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”
And how can they give the Nobel to a guy who won’t meet for lunch with the Dalai Lama because he’s afraid of hurting China’s feelings?
When I was a teenager, I had to skip most of my youth basketball league games one season because my parents refused to drive me as part of comprehensive sanctions implemented because of behavioral issues (I think… I forget what I was actually punished for, but I hold no grudge).
Inexplicably, my parents wanted me to go to the awards banquet at the end of the year. When I refused, they still got me my trophy (everyone got one) because one of their friends was at the event. If I really wanted to be melodramatic, I could have smashed that trophy like Moses with the 10 Commandment tablets. But I simply tossed the trophy in the garage and forgot about it.
I did not want to display a trophy I did not earn. In a Brady Bunch episode, I had seen how emotional kids (specifically Bobby Brady) could get over not winning a trophy. But I would rather have had an empty shelf than be a fraud.
President Obama could learn a lot from both Bobby Brady’s experience and mine.