Trying to pick a Person of the year is a difficult task. Every year, thousands of newspapers , magazines and countless blogs try and spin who they deem worthy of person of the year honors. This year is no different except, this year, as far as this writer is concerned, picking the person of the year is quite easy. In addition, little thought was put into who it would be, but a deep sense of reflection and thought was devoted to why it was who we have chosen.
Considering this is the first time I have done this sort of annual thing, I felt it was necessary to ponder the exact particulars of what should qualify someone as a candidate for person of the year. Is it notoriety? Must it be born from something deemed morally sound? Or should we set aside moral particulars, and emphasize impact, regardless of if it has been negative or positive?
Historically speaking, morals have been disregarded by many leading publications. One of the more infamous Time magazine People of the Years went to none other than Adolf Hitler in 1938. This year, Time decided to cop out and pick the “Protester.”
I regard this as coping out, because it avoids the difficulty in actually naming someone or something specific. Furthermore, which protester or what definitive movement? Was it the Arab spring or the Wisconsin Protests? Or are we simply generalizing Wisconsin and Occupy Wall Street as a similar event related to a higher meaning and related purpose? Or, are even those protests’ distinct from one another and just part of a mashing of completely unrelated protests that have nothing of substance in common? Sure, Time did a good job of providing an explanation, but the pick is still a ‘cop out’ as far as I am concerned.
Understandably, this task is challenging, but Time should emphasize a particular protester or individual that inspired a specific protest. Just saying the “protester” was the person of the year is similar to picking Drew Brees, Arron Rodgers and Tom Brady for this years NFL MVP. It would be a disservice for fans to do such a thing. But a funny thing happened when I saw such a largely inarticulate grouping of people put fourth by Time for Person of the Year. For the most part, last year's protestors protested such varied things that to group them as a smooth, macro encampment of ideas is just lunacy.
It became a recurring thought that if a group were to be considered for Person of the Year, then it should be the U.S. men and woman returning from Iraq.
Unfortunately, our brave neighbors and friends quietly came home to little fanfare and certainly silent coverage from local and national outlets. Sure, it was observed by the media, but people barely noticed or simply decided to pretend they didn’t notice.
In some ways, I can’t blame them. Our country has become so superficial where everything seems either disingenuous or marketed and in then end, very empty. In addition, the Iraq war itself is so broadly despised by a plurality of people that it conjures such negative feelings; it is naturally difficult for people to be enthusiastic about something they feel such disdain for.
This is not to insinuate progress has not been gained because of such shallow and narcissistic thinking. We have become an ambitious society trying to better ourselves and our communities while attainting lucrative jobs that are not only financially rewarding, but provide personal nourishment. So, our progress is evident in the phones we use and this is good.
Except our country officially ended a war, and a national tribute was not conducted for the men and woman who fought in it. Can I ask what have we become?
As previously stated, intellectually, it is easy to decipher why the fanfare is muted. This disdain many feel about the war in Iraq is something I share. It was a colossal failure of ideology, management and borderline manipulation for purposes unrelated to protecting America.
It has cost our country billions and has done nothing to empower the U.S. Our unilateral action further divided the U.S. from possible allies who, after the attacks on 9/11, were willing to help the U.S. decimate terrorist organizations.
And, as history shall prove, the Iraq effort hindered the war in Afghanistan and in this humble opinion, led to the escape of Bin Laden into Pakistan. You do not have to believe me, but I would hope you would believe ex CIA agent Gary Berntsen. Iraq as a war and a concept, was an unequivocal failure and history will prove this.
So aside from our feelings about the war, the men and woman should be regarded as heros in similar vogue as the returning WWII warriors, like both of my grandfathers.
These men and woman are not robotic humanoids wearing uniforms, but actual people who are our friends, neighbors, waitresses, mothers and fathers to our kids' friends, coffee attendants, students, community leaders, doctors, security guards, police officers, firefighters, doctors, lawyers, bank managers and in the case of Pat Tillman, even NFL football players. They are us, and we are them. Regardless of the political decisions rendered for them, they decided to fight for a purpose greater than themselves and to protect a country they and hopefully all of us, still believe in.
Just like the celebrated heroes from WWII, these men and woman should be treated with such exuberant welcome. In addition, it is my hope that high school’s all across the country will be named after every kid who died in Iraq in their hometowns.
I would further add that their remaining family be exempt from paying further taxes. Yes, not a nickel should they owe this country. I would dare anyone to object with either rhetorical or intellectual reasoning and regardless of how good the argument would seem, foolishly you would still look.
So here at CWC, we deem you, the soldiers returning from Iraq as the People of the Year. Individually, Time or any publication who dares, should put these 4,484 men and woman on a their cover and write a personal story about them and give it to the families as a symbolic thank you.
So guys and gals, welcome home and thank fucking god, we are out of Iraq!
War Is Over, War Is Over, War Is Over, War Is Over, War Is Over, War Is Over
About this column: The view on politics, sports and social issues from the edge of Bunker Hill. Read more of Jack's work at his site Coffee With Caesar at http://coffeewithcaesar.com