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And the winner is ...

October 17, 2009

Jack Benny was always fond of saying, "I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and don't deserve that either."

I really don't have an opinion on President Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, but thought I would offer one anyway.

It's surely a nice, fuzzy, warm feeling when one receives an award, isn't it? Deserving it or not is left to the individual's own analysis, and his or her critics.

After completing some 30 years of work with the state, I was more than a little happy to receive my 25-year plaque for dedicated service. Even though it was five years late in arriving, to receive it posthumously would have been a bummer.

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When someone receives an award, it can make that person feel really special. As for the rest of us, we sometimes spend long, sleepless nights trying to figure out why that person received the award in the first place. President Obama's award is no exception to the rule.

Every year, I see many people receive awards. I can't for the sake of me understand how some of these people receive awards while other deserving individuals are totally ignored.

While I was doing a little research on the Nobel Peace Prize, I came across some pretty interesting information.

For instance, Alfred Nobel was a very rich man at the end of his life some 113 years ago. A lot of his wealth was derived from his experimentation in creating dynamite.

I can't imagine a world without dynamite, can you?

The fact that some of his money was left by his last will and testament to benefit those who would do some positive things for mankind was certainly a noble (no pun intended) gesture in consideration of his own contribution.

He gave some guidance for the awarding of individual prizes in those areas of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace.

Specifically he offered the following direction: "It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes, no consideration be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most 'worthy' shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not".

Your personal evaluation of the word "worthy" has to be used in your evaluation of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama.

Everyone has an opinion.

Oh by the way, can you name some of the past recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize?

Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter were a few of our past presidents to be selected for this prestigious award.

Maybe their selections, too, were somewhat controversial. OK, perhaps not.

A few others you might know include Mikhail Gorbachev and Yasser Arafat.

Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Harry Truman had no luck in being selected for the award.

Some other noteworthy winners included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa.

I don't believe the Dalai Lama has ever been in a fist fight and that was probably considered by the selection committee.

Mother Teresa, for sure, seems like a person who might promote peace.

Maybe to avoid all of this controversy, we should have a voting link provided to all the world's computers and collect the votes from around the globe. Perhaps someone from China might win then.

I really don't know what all the fuss is about. If President Obama is a deserving candidate, what's wrong with him receiving the award? If he is not "worthy" of the award, maybe the selection committee has missed a few others.

Who wants a Nobel Peace Prize anyway?

Maybe, just maybe, in terms of eliminating all this confusion, we can vacate Mr. Nobel's last will and testament and use those remaining funds to study the violence in Chicago, eradicate the genocide in Darfur, contribute to the Palestinian dilemma, or erect "stop the war" signs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Or maybe, we can just take the advice of Will Rogers in achieving world peace when he once shared his wisdom: "I have a scheme for stopping war ... it's this ... no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one."

If we accept that simple advice, maybe we can get rid of the Nobel Peace prize altogether and avoid all this confusion.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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