Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Person of the Year

A week from now we still won't be able to say who's going to lead the GOP ticket in 2012, but the folks in Iowa might be yesterday's news just as fast as they were four years back, when they decided Mike Huckabee was their guy. A year from now I'll be able to write some kind of sage comments, God willing, about forty years of marriage to the same woman. And at some point I'll be able to talk about my tennis career-ending injury, mostly so that all my readers worldwide can know for sure that I've become old, not that many will care.
But for now, let's consider the title in this week's title, then come out for someone, though it need not be someone who's likable. Time Magazine, who first got in the business of fluffy-type honors decades back, gave their nod for 2011 to "the protester".
And that isn't a bad answer, but it begs for clarification. Those fire-breathing Tea party congressmen who took their seats in Congress with all kinds of plans for shaking things up, for instance, now don't seem to be leaders so much as the kind of person who gladly throw sand in the gearbox of government, then point left and scream "HE did it!" Person of the year? They wouldn't even get the nod from Boehner. The price of corrupting them also seems likely to go down as their first incumbency defense in November looms closer. No award for them.
The Republican candidates for president would also like to be thought of as "protesters" in the way that the Pope might be regarded as a protester against evil. Their debates have been revealing during little exchanges, but on the whole they resemble a dog pile on Obama - pretty riskless as long as he's not there to make replies, while the audience that is there would just as soon see the president dismembered on stage. Most of this group of me too-ers, all brave Christmas Christians will be one with Gephardt and Pawlenty by spring, forgotten by all but self-appointed experts like me. "Protesters"? Impossible - when your hand is out for millions.
Of course, the Left has the Occupy folks. They deserve credit for talking loudly about the inequities of society that often get ignored though they're in plain sight. I honestly believe we haven't seen the last of these tough folks either, though they are facing their toughest enemy right now - winter. I also like that their message is simple enough for everyone to get - "They are rich, and we (all of us) aren't, and it's not because they're so smart, either."
But I'm giving the prize to some real heroes, far away though they may be. If you launch a protest in the wrong country at the wrong time, or in front of the wrong audience, you can find yourself as part of the local landfill. And darned few will care because you were supposed to know the risks before you opened your mouth. But that didn't stop some brave folks in unfree places like Egypt and Libya, most armed with nothing more lethal than cell phones. With blinding speed, they showed the rest of the world what the Iraqis didn't - that people can change things by themselves, guns or no guns, if they want to badly enough. Even if the cause is a little dodgy, you have to pay attention to people willing to risk their lives when success is far from guaranteed. The least I can do for these folks is name them "Person of the Year", with the wish that 2012 works well for them.


Blogger Matt said...

So I met up with Marla over the christmas break and she told me you were still at this. Looks like you are quite the dedicated blogger these days.

My vote goes to the original guy t light himself on fire in Tunisia. The straw that broke the camels back. I don't think we have come even close to seeing the end of what he started. There has been some interesting developments in China that haven't really been covered yet by the media that have the potential to rock the whole country if it isn't contained.

Keep up the good work kind sir.


8:10 AM  

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