Many have praised the decision, saying that the award represents an endorsement of Obama’s multilateral vision and supporting the Nobel committee’s encouragement in that direction.
Others have been highly critical of the decision, saying that it is too much, too soon and that it emboldens implacable enemies like Iran.
Few people have taken a more measured position.
I wrote earlier this year about Bill Bishop’s The Big Sort has been a useful guide to me when thinking about the enduring and increasing division within our country-divisions that Obama has pledged and tried to heal, without much success so far.
While Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” outburst captured all the headlines after Obama’s health care speech, what struck me was the contemptuous faces of rows of his fellow Republicans, many of whom checked their Blackeberrys, held up alternative bills and generally exhibited disdain for the comments of the nation’s elected leader while he was speaking.
Lifetime friend, father and accomplished filmmaker M. David Lee III made the point yesterday that technology’s combination of community and anonymity allow people to voice opinions they might previously have kept silent. White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs head and law professor Cass Sunstein addressed this phenomenon in Republic.com 2.0. Here he made the point that people’s ability only to community with like minded people through technology has led to a hardening of opinions and a decrease in dialogue.