My first reaction on hearing that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize today was: "What for?" (I'm not the only one who wondered, as my colleague Melly Alazraki posted this morning.) But after learning more about why he won, I'm absolutely delighted. He won for three reasons: his ethnicity, his actions, and how much he differs from his predecessor. And I think all these reasons are great.
Elie Wiesel, the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, suggested to WBUR this morning that the very fact that the son of an African man and a white American woman won the U.S. presidency is a source of inspiration to millions around the world. As much as it dismays those who are still fighting the Civil War, Obama's election in a country marred by its history of slavery goes a little way towards bringing closure to the differences from which that war sprang.