People of the Year

People Of The Year


Leonard Zwelling

We are not in December yet, but most of us wish 2020 would end early. Whether it does or not (unlikely), it is time to start thinking about year-end awards and the People of the Year seem pretty clear to me.

In sports, I believe that LeBron James will be the Sports Illustrated Man of the Year unless Rafael Nadal sneaks in. The NBA managed to finish its season despite all odds being against it through discipline and determination. LeBron brought yet his third team to a championship and that has to be the performance of the year. The baseball season was too short. Football won’t be over for a while. College athletics were a basket case due to the virus and no one golfer dominated, although Dustin Johnson was close. Without the Olympics, who you gonna call if not King James? The NBA also managed to try to be both politically relevant and socially responsible by promoting Black Lives Matter. Many think athletes should just play and not express opinions, but the effort of the NBA players and coaches to make people more aware of the plight of Black Americans after the killing of George Floyd was actually a bright spot in a dim year.

But the overall king or queen of the world this year surely was the coronavirus, but that’s not a person even if it ruled everything we did. No, this year there will be a duo of People of the Year. For saving the nation, Joe Biden has to get one nod. But for telling the truth, I’m going with Anthony Fauci.

At a time when lying became society’s blood sport and no one could trust the media to tell the truth (and yes, I mean both CNN and Fox), Dr. Fauci, and President-elect Biden did tell us what we needed to hear. Biden turned it into a close win, but Fauci battled the forces of evil and darkness in trying to keep science front and center when his boss suggested the use of bleach as a therapeutic intervention.

There were other “truth tellers” as well, but none worth a damned in the Congress on either side. Mike DeWine, the Governor of Ohio gets honorable mention as does Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan for trying their best to keep as many people safe as possible. A host of public health experts including Michael Osterholm made a super human effort to get the truth out about the virus, masks, social distancing and indoor gatherings. Local officials all over the country did their level best to balance the safety of their constituents with the needs of their local economies when leadership from Washington and Atlanta was rare and often confused.

The truth really is that the most consequential person on the planet was Donald Trump and Men of the Year have been negative forces before, but when the people dance in the street at your democratic electoral defeat, you don’t get a medal. In fact, what was called for on Trump’s part was grace and humility, two traits about which Mr. Trump knows nothing.

I honestly don’t know when Donald Trump will admit to himself that he lost and he did so due to his own ineptitude. I am sure there were many who willingly voted FOR Mr. Biden, but there must be just as many whose votes Biden got because the vote casters were AGAINST Mr. Trump. Donald Trump is a blight on the country and the world. He has managed to express the worst instincts of American politics from racism to xenophobia to indifference to the plight of the less fortunate. It is my guess that he will be a blip in the history books, remembered most for being the president when covid struck the United States and he could not figure out how to lead through it. As Andrew Johnson kicked off Reconstruction and Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, Trump will be a footnote to history.

For all of you who voted for him despite the way he widened the gap between the American haves and have nots, many of whom have had their 401Ks grow since November 3, examine your choices. You chose poorly. The economy will not tank under Mr. Biden (Dow closed at 30,000 already) and the left will not gain a foothold in the Congress or the executive branch.

America will take its rightful place on the world stage again without bluster or bigotry or anti-immigrant sentiment. America survived Trump. But it was a close call. Even though he was the person of greatest consequence this year, Mr. Trump cannot be the Man of the Year—this year or any other, even if he already was in 2016. Bye, Don!

3 thoughts on “People of the Year”

    “The common fate of ALL mankind is to be forgotten absolutely in a short period of time!” (Charles Eliot, President of Harvard College for decades and a hero of mine.)

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