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Critics of his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize complain what has he done ? In the first place, he would have done a lot more if he were not being fought, obstructed, and sabotaged every step of the way by the Republican right, who are responsible for the horrendous problems he is doing his best to rectify : the deep recession, the two wars, and the health care system that leaves millions without health care. What is the matter with these people ? They are small-minded, small-hearted, and mean-spirited. Someone arises with extraordinary ability and vision, and they react like jealous and resentful people in a small town. It’s like an Ibsen play. I really think the two types of Americans can be explained genetically. The Blues and Reds are as innately different as boys and girls, dogs and cats. Some born Reds are absolutely lovely, but many of them are pretty vile human beings. You find this mix in every society since the Agricultural Revolution. The hunters and gatherers I’ve met are all lovely. It’s when there is a durable form of wealth–grain– that the problems start : war, a class structure, rich and poor, oppressor and oppressed.

The reason Obama got the prize after only nine months in office is because of what he represents : hope in a world that is in deep trouble on so many levels. Because he is putting the interests of the world ahead of national self-interest. Because he is talking to our enemies and trying to get the enemies together to work out their differences, for the greater good. Because he understands, to quote from my song, “Too Too Much,” that “the human hand is heavy on the land, heavier than it can stand.” He got it for the same reason, the International Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) did last year. Because he understands the problems and admits them and is confronting them. Because what propelled him into office was the desire of the majority of Americans to solve our chronic problems, the deep-seated racial divisions, the inherent selfishness of the profit motive, a brilliantly conceived society that has become morally adrift. Because he embodies what Alfred Nobel wanted to celebrate, honor, and encourage. As Martin Luther King said in his acceptance speech, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” The shot of hope this man gave the world a year ago was extraordinary, and now the mean and the petty, the worst of us, are trying to shoot him down.

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