He could build a roof-top solarium and hot tub on the West Wing, invest in an ocean-ready cabin cruiser or buy a modest stake in his favorite basketball team. But when President Obama is awarded roughly $1.5 million along with his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo this week, it would be prudent for him to make a symbolic statement of sorts with the money.
On this, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I’ll start the list with a few modest suggestions:
1. Hold an alphabet version of bingo lottery among all the U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. The first non-officer to spell the name O-B-A-M-A gets to sport a hand-sewn pocket insignia for a year that reads, “Give peace a chance.” (This will take care of two-thirds the money since it costs $1 million to keep a soldier in Afghanistan for a year.)
2. Build solar-powered, state-of-the-art, drying-and-pressing stations throughout the Afghan mountains and valleys. This would allow the people to turn all those pretty poppy plants into pressed flowers, embossed in plastic. They make lovely interfaith holiday gifts.
3. Demonstrate unending commitment to bipartisanship by providing jobs for a year to the girlfriends or boyfriends of all members of Congress, regardless of party. (On second thought, the president hasn’t won enough money for that.)
4. Give modest, six-figure special bonuses to the top executives of Citibank, who are rumored to be depressed and distractedly humming, “1 is the loneliest number,” now that Bank of America plans to repay its $45 billion government bailout, leaving Citi as the last large bank, as Barack might be singing, “under my thumb.”
5. Pay off 1/1,000,000 (that’s one, one-millionth) of the anticipated U.S. national debt for 2009 alone.
Of course, the president could give the money to global human rights organizations committed to ending wars. But who would notice?
It’s a tough call, and I could use your help. Got any other suggestions?