Here's where you can put that Nobel Prize of yours, Mr. President


I really wish people would stop making major news on Friday, the start of my weekend and my no-blogging "sanity rule." The bottom line is that by the time I weigh in on a certain 44th President of the United States of America winning a certain prize from over there in "Norwegia" (heh, indeedy), even Stu Bykofsky has given us his two cents, and that truly is the bottom of the punditry food chain.

I don't think President Obama deserved the Nobel Prize Peace, either. I could give you all the reasons why but that's why God created Glenn Greenwald, so I can agree with him and point you in his direction. It does say something about the state of our discourse is that everybody in America is using this so-called "Peace Prize" to make verbal war on their enemies -- conservatives on liberals, liberals on conservatives, and just about everyone from all sides on Obama. That's a shame, because this entire bruhaha isn't so much about Obama at all. It's about six other people -- five somewhat clueless Norwegians and also George W. Bush -- whom most of the world, including the Norway 5, really, really doesn't like.

You know what...neither do I. But the little thingee on the bottom of my computer tells me that it's October 13, 2009, and maybe -- after already punishing Bush by by awarding the prize to Jimmy Carter and Al Gore -- it's time to be a little more forward looking. Revenge against Bush -- at least in this manner -- doesn't help Obama with the job he needs to do. And before the president works any magic -- real or perceived -- anywhere else on the globe, he needs to bring a little peace, love and understanding right here on the homefront.

This weekend, I spent a couple of days in a destination that was a Border State in the Civil War and still is today -- a border between a Rust Belt of toppled factories and a Southland of struggling farmland. People in the Heartland are angry and however much some of them project their rage onto Obama, what they really want, more than a different president, are jobs that pay well enough to raise a family, and that also are meaningful. That is every bit as true in the decaying cities on either coast. Bob Herbert had a great column today about the lack of "peace" in urban America, very close to home:

I remember driving around Camden, which is right outside of Philadelphia, on a rainy afternoon. Young people with nothing to do — they had dropped out of school and had little or no chance of finding a job — were gathered on porches, saying little, staring the hours away. I had on a suit and was driving a nice car. More than one person that I approached thought I was either buying or selling drugs.

The inner cities have been in a recession for decades. They’re in a depression now. Myriad issues desperately need to be addressed: employment, education, the foreclosure crisis, crime, alcohol and drug abuse, health care (including mental health treatment and counseling), child care for working parents and on and on and on.

These myriad issues need to be addressed by a lot of people, especially those folks who live there and also the folks nearby who should not abandon their neighbors. But the president down in Washington also has a bully pulpit and the ability to help get the ball rolling, to fill the gaps where a mere reversal of civic pride isn't enough. President Obama should accept that Nobel Peace Prize...and put it to work, right here in Camden.