As a child I remember going into my parent’s room always sure to find the most recent edition of TIME Magazine sitting on top of the stack of mail. The most interesting section of the magazine to me was the “Milestones” section. I would read a synopsis of the top stories of the past week, as well as tidbits about the leading newsmakers of the political world. Even as a young girl, I was intrigued to see what acts of notoriety, either good or bad, our politicians had contributed to in the ever-changing “quilt of life” in America.
One issue that stands out in my mind vividly was when John Lennon was shot. I had listened to Beatles music my entire life and later to John Lennon throughout his solo career. I couldn’t imagine how someone could just walk up to his apartment complex and kill him. It was shocking for a fourteen year old, who had never experienced violence, to read the story. I remember just staring at the cover, wondering what had happened to our society. Then three and a half months later, a television was brought into my Biology classroom so we could watch the news coverage of President Reagan being shot. Once again, this major story was covered by TIME Magazine.
In my memory, TIME was the leading conservative voice that helped advise and keep my family up to date on world events. (Of course, this was back in the days when having three television stations without the need of “bunny ears” was considered high tech.) So when I graduated from college, my parents gave me my own subscription to TIME Magazine to help me navigate the waters of politics and the world. I still enjoyed the “Milestones” but I was now more interested in the “meatier” stories—especially my favorite, the “Person of the Year” issue.
The very first “Person of the Year” was Charles Lindbergh in 1927. The headline said, “His solo New York to Paris flight made him a legend.” Since then, TIME has awarded 12 U.S. Presidents the honor, some up to 3 times, as well as approximately 20 Foreign Leaders. Additional covers went to “The Computer” (1982), “U.S. Women” (1975) and “Young People” (1966).
For me, the “Person of the Year” issue spotlighted what I believed to be the “crème de la crème” of a person who had done something especially productive and beneficial to either our nation or the world as a whole. While I have never been someone to idolize people–I set my course of life for Jesus Christ–I did consider it an honor when someone was named TIME’s “Person of the Year”.
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but TIME Magazine and I parted ways when I saw their journalists go from being objective to left-leaning. Unfortunately, TIME is now being led by politicians rather than journalistic prowess—so it didn’t surprise me when President Obama was, once again, chosen as TIME’s “Person of the Year” for 2012.
In recent years of journalistic mayhem and mistrust, it actually would have been a bright spot if TIME had chosen someone who actually did something or stood for something other than divisiveness—or perhaps someone who represented a positive change for our country.
One of the people who made TIME’s short list for the cover was Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage young lady who was shot in the head for wanting girls to be educated in her country. That would have been an intriguing and encouraging story, focusing on a young woman who was sacrificed for the greater good of all; no political interests, no paybacks to be given because of political backing, just the pure intentions of a teenage girl who wanted to be educated.
And yet, they chose Barack Obama instead. TIME’s Editor Rick Stengel said the reason for awarding Obama the cover was, “We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America.”
According to the TIME Magazine website, “the ‘Person of the Year’ is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”
Realistically, I can certainly see Mr. Stengel’s point that Obama is the symbol of “cultural and demographic changes”; however it is also true that Obama falls into the “ill” category (but I’m sure that is not what they meant…).
The use of Stengel’s word “symbol” is also appropriate, since many of President Obama’s decisions have been developed and implemented not based on his own sense of knowledge and experience but by those who stand behind him, directing his steps.
However, for me TIME’s “Person of the Year” showed his true colors this week when just days after appearing on television expressing emotion about the tragedy in Connecticut, Obama turned right around and used the tragedy to push his agenda forward.
I wonder–do most Americans even realize he is doing this?
But, goodness, if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. If there’s one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important. And I would like to think that members of that caucus would say to themselves: You know what, we disagree with the President on a whole bunch of things. We wish the other guy had won. We’re going to fight him on a whole range of issues over the next four years. We think his philosophy is all screwed up. But right now, what the country needs is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place; make sure middle class taxes don’t go up; make sure that we’re laying the foundations for growth…
As I heard the words “if this past week” come out the President’s mouth, I drove down road saying out loud, “Don’t say it!” and yet, that’s exactly what he did.
How could TIME’s “Person of the Year” use something so precious and devastating as the mass murder of children to try and rally people around his political desires? Selfishness, I presume?
Which leads me back to my disappointment in TIME Magazine and their choice for this year’s “Person of the Year”. Unlike what Obama said in his recent speech, I’m not disappointed simply because I am “one of those people who disagrees with the President on a whole bunch of things” and “wishes the other guy had won”. No, Mr. President, it’s much deeper and much more serious than that. Bottom line, it’s because our country’s perception of what a “Person of the Year” should be is completely, utterly warped.