It’s that, um, Time again: The newsmagazine has presented its 2005 list of nominees for its Person of the Year, the newsmaker defined as the person or persons (or inanimate object) who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year. The roster includes many people one would expect to see — naturally, some are more worthy than others, but all, likely, will have their cheering sections:
- Steve Jobs – the Apple Computer CEO became about as omnipresent as his iPods
- Pope Benedict XVI – head of the Roman Catholic Church; spent much of the year getting his feet wet as John Paul II’s replacement and vilifying gay people
- Bill and Melinda Gates – the Microsoft honcho and his spouse gave scads of money to help the less fortunate via their foundation
- The Google Guys – appear to have nudged their way into every Internet user’s existence; even my 9-year-old goes on about “Googling” this and that
- J.K. Rowling – brought millions more to reading (and cost many of us a night’s sleep) by releasing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth in her mega-selling series about the British boy wizard
- the Rev. Rick Warren – the pastor and author inspired millions of readers — and Starbucks customers — with ideas from his book and philosophy, The Purpose-Driven Life
- Condoleezza Rice – the US Secretary of State jetted across the world, winning friends and influencing people while defending the increasingly polarizing policies of her boss
- Valerie Plame – the formerly undercover CIA agent whose outing led to a continuing federal investigation and the resignation of Dick Cheney’s chief of staff
- Bono – spent the year making music, standing up for Africa’s poor with Bob Geldof before the G8 leaders, helping win debt relief for the poorest nations, and looking marvelous behind sunglasses
- Mother Nature – kicked the hell out of much of the world, in the process reminding us all who really is in charge
- George W. Bush – 2004 winner; this year, notable for his ineptness and recalcitrance in handling the Iraq invasion and occupation, for more lies and for his dwindling popularity
- Lance Armstrong – the cancer survivor won a seventh straight Tour de France, got engaged to Sheryl Crow, worked to raise funds for cancer research, and lived strong
Readers are encouraged to vote for one of the nominees at Time‘s Web site.
Of course, there are those of us who can’t vote in good conscience for any of the above. Time, knowing this, offers an interactive page where people can chime in about their own choices for the honor.
That’s the route I had to take. As much as I admire some of the people on the nominees’ list, my vote goes to Cindy Sheehan.
Liberals embrace her; conservatives consider her at worst a traitor, at best a loon (or is Moonbat the right-wing rebuke of choice these days?). Her story grabbed the entire nation’s attention. When we met her, she was the grieving mother of a young soldier who lost his life in Bush’s “war.” In due course, she became an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the motivations that led this nation to invade another. Sheehan paid a price for her actions: Her family, loyal to Bush to a fault, deserted her. She was jailed briefly following an antiwar protest in Washington, DC, last September. And she was vilified by many of her countrypersons. But she stayed strong, continuing her struggle against the ruling regime. I hope she gets some satisfaction from seeing support for the “war” plummet.
If there is a true patriot to be found in the whole Iraq mess — and I am not including the soldiers in making this point — it is Cindy Sheehan. She suffered the worst kind of loss yet moved beyond her grief to take a stand against those who claim to represent true American values but do not. In return, her nation has marginalized her and has treated her like the worst kind of filth. Still, she fights onward: She has guts, determination, and principle on her side: Sheehan, for me, has come to represent America’s conscience.
Agree or disagree with her, one must applaud a person with the courage to stand for what she believes is right even in the face of the harshest criticism. Sheehan lives up to her citizen’s duty to hold her leaders accountable when it appears they are leading the nation — one that is supposed to value truth and justice for all — down a dangerous, immoral path.
Time will choose as its Person of the Year someone in line with mainstream thought, either a media darling or someone who stands behind the duplicitous, “you’re with us or the terrorists” Bush Administration. That is to be expected. Some of this year’s POTY nominees are fine people doing exceptional work to be sure. It’s hard to complain about Bono or Lance Armstrong. Media figures Rowling, Warren, and Jobs make sense on some level. And Mother Nature certainly made her presence felt this year. But Cindy Sheehan stands head and shoulders above any other figure I can imagine to represent what is good and decent about America.
I don’t care whom or what Time picks. I choose Cindy Sheehan.