Regardless of who gets the Republican nomination for president later this year, it’s safe to say that Donald Trump has stolen the 2016 election for himself. Or at least stolen the media limelight. And for a man who has consistently been shoehorning himself into the public’s eye since the 1980s, he has become a genius at it.
In what seems to me another tactic to ensure his notoriety in this last stretch of campaigning, somebody has nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
To the millions of people who glaze across the headline in the New York Times or on CNN, this would seem like a shock, perhaps even a conversation starter, which is exactly what it’s designed to be. The practicality of it, though, is that Donald Trump will never win the Nobel Peace Prize. And everyone knows it.
That’s what makes this story so interesting. Trump’s nomination fosters a great deal of skepticism over how reputable the Nobel Prize really is. After all, who would nominate him?
Any professor of history, philosophy, law, theology or social sciences in the world can nominate Nobel Prize candidates, according to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation. Which basically means, the entire history department at UCF could potentially nominate Trump.
Although being a professor is a good qualification to have, it does widen the pool of nominators quite a bit. Furthermore, there are no qualifications for the nominee. Anyone may be put up for nomination, so the statement “it’s an honor just to be nominated” only goes so far.
The history of the Nobel Peace Prize isn’t exactly as altruistic as many of its winners, either. Alfred Nobel created the prize in his own honor after reading a premature obituary that condemned him for profiting from the sale of dynamite. Rather than be remembered for the deadly explosive he invented in 1867, he bequeathed his entire fortune to create the Nobel Prize — hardly a noble cause. Compound that with the fact that people like Mahatma Gandhi, who seemingly embodies the very idea of peace, have never won, and the Nobel Peace Prize hardly seems like a definition for peace.
The individual who nominated Donald Trump, and who the Nobel Committee will keep anonymous, said that Trump deserves the award for “his vigorous peace through strength ideology;” essentially the same oxymoronic reasoning that could have been used to nominate other “peaceful idealists” such as Genghis Kahn or Alexander the Great.
But how else will we quantify a person’s importance without the Nobel Peace Prize? Perhaps we can still hope that it means something, like the sliver of hope we all carry within us that reassures us that the universe isn’t as bad as it seems, that history has truly shown us what peace looks like in the form of a gold-plated medal.
Then again, Adolf Hitler was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1939.
Isn’t that an interesting thought?
John Lancaster is a contributing columnist for the Central Florida Future.