Since 1927 Time magazine has selected a “Man of the Year” — now known as “Person of the Year.” It was started to save face after the publication failed to feature aviator Charles Lindbergh following his historic trans-Atlantic flight.
It’s no surprise that Time picked Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for its “Group of the Year” for 2020. And it’s not only because they are a left-leaning publication.
It may partly be because, since 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected to the White House, they have always chosen the president-elect. This included Donald Trump in 2016.
Since the list began, almost every sitting president has been a man or person of the year at least once. The exceptions include Calvin Coolidge (in office at the time of the first issue), Herbert Hoover (the subsequent U.S. president), and Gerald Ford.
The person, group, idea or object chosen are picked because “for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year.”
Over the years the magazine has made some interesting choices. The first was Adolf Hitler.
Hitler was picked as Time’s Man of the Year in 1938, just one year before Hitler invaded Poland and started World War II. By then he had already started the Holocaust. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the total number murdered during the Holocaust was 17 million: 6 million Jews and 11 million others.
Interestingly during his four years as president, Trump has often been compared to Hitler even though Trump has never imprisoned political opponents, has never overruled the Supreme Court or Congress, never started a war or shut down the free press — all things attributed to Hitler.
The next year, 1939, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin received this honor. It’s estimated that Stalin is responsible for the deaths of 20 to 60 million people. These deaths had nothing to do with World War II.
If once was not enough Stalin was selected again in 1942.
Fifteen years later, in 1957, another brutal Soviet dictator was chosen, Nikita Khrushchev.
In 1978 a third communist dictator was named “Man of the Year.” This time it was China’s Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you may remember his actions. He ordered the shooting of students in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Long before then, in 1949, he directed the occupation of Tibet along with the slaughter of its people and the destruction of the Tibetan civilization. He was not a nice guy.
The next year, 1979, was the last year Time picked a controversial character for “Man of the Year.” That year they selected Ruhollah Khomeini. Known in the west as the Ayatollah Khomeini, he led the 1979 Iranian Revolution, establishing himself as Supreme Leader where he oversaw the Iran hostage crisis.
Using Time’s own criteria for their selection — done the most to influence the events of the year — let’s look back at 2020.
What did Biden and Harris do? They were elected (supposedly) as the next president and vice-president of the United States of America.
Here a some of Trump’s accomplishments in 2020 — while being impeached and attached relentlessly.
• The Abraham Accords between Israel and four Arab neighbors, for which Trump was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
• The opening of Saudi airspace for flights to and from Israel, which had been banned since 1948.
• The original Trump Peace Plan that set the stage for the Accords.
• The successful negotiations of the Serbia-Kosovo economic normalization that also included Serbia agreeing to move its embassy to Jerusalem and Kosovo, a Muslim-majority country, to recognize Israel and move its embassy as well — another peace prize nomination.
• The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement that replaced NAFTA.
• Negotiations with Saudi Arabia, Russia and Mexico that stabilized global oil markets.
• Negotiated a trade deal with China.
• The tentative end of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
• Operation Warp Speed which led to two coronavirus vaccines.
• Working with private firms to change production lines and make 100,000 ventilators needed in the war on the coronavirus.
• Project Airbridge, setting up over 100 flights with 1 billion pieces of medical supplies and equipment to front-line coronavirus fighters.
• Soon-to-be-reached total of 450 miles of border wall.
• The Safe Policing for Safe Communities Executive Order after George Floyd’s death in May.
Trump accomplished a lot during 2020 while Biden campaigned from his basement. My pick for “Person of the Year” is Donald Trump.