I did not plan to write this story. I do not want to write this story. It just keeps crossing my radar with a persistent … blip … blip … blip … and it is driving me nuts, so here I sit writing the story I did not and do not want to write. Oh sure, I’ve written about far worse things, such as murder and mayhem, man’s inhumanity to man, all the -isms and phobias of the year. I’ve written stories so sad that I bit back tears the entire time I was writing. But this one just seems to be akin to putting a diamond necklace on a boar hog. But alas, it keeps calling me back, so here we go …
Up until 1999, Time Magazine did an annual cover story titled “Man of the Year”. It took them a while, but they eventually figured out that it was a bit sexist, and so in 1999 they changed it to “Person of the Year”. This is a much-anticipated event that takes place every December, and the intent is to profile a person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year”. By that definition, I suppose it was inevitable that this year’s “person” could be none other than the man with small hands, small heart, and small brain, Donald J. Trump.
A few other demagogues have had the honour: Adolph Hitler – 1938; Joseph Stalin – 1939 & 1942; Nikita Khrushchev – 1957; Ayatollah Khomeini – 1979. So, Trump is in good company with his own kind. Interestingly Time’s Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Gibbs, explained why the honour went to Trump:
“For reminding America that demagoguery feeds on despair and that truth is only as powerful as the trust in those who speak it, for empowering a hidden electorate by mainstreaming its furies and live-streaming its fears, and for framing tomorrow’s political culture by demolishing yesterday’s, Donald Trump is Time’s 2016 person of the year.”
Not exactly a glowing accolade, is it? And note the caption: “Donald Trump, President of the Divided States of America”.
This is certainly not the first time Trump has “graced” the cover of Time. According to Trump, “You know, I think I was on the cover of TIME Magazine twice in my life and like six times in the last number of months.” My personal favourite is this one from September of this year:
Last year’s Person of the Year was Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, appropriately recognized for her leadership in the Greek debt crisis and the European migrant crisis. When Merkel was announced as the Person of the Year, Trump tweeted, “I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany.” What is it with this guy? He cannot even stand for somebody who actually did something worthwhile to be recognized?
In March he was on this cover, referred to as a bully, showman, party crasher, and demagogue.
Knowing how thin-skinned he is, you would think that he would have hated it, would have been furious. But no, he actually loved it! “Look at that picture of me on Time,” he said to a People magazine reporter after the Time issue hit newsstands. As he spoke, People reported, Trump was gesturing to a huge stack of the magazines in his office. “It’s a movement! Isn’t that an amazing picture? It’s been a lot of fun.”
Since the list began, every serving President of the United States has been a Person of the Year at least once with the exceptions of Calvin Coolidge, in office at time of the first issue; Herbert Hoover, the next U.S. president; and Gerald Ford. Most were named Person of the Year either the year they were elected or while they were in office.
Some have claimed that the two peaks of the “M” juxtaposed just over Trump’s head appear to be horns and have wondered if that was intentional. Time says not. “Any resemblance to cats, bats, or devil horns is entirely coincidental.”
And finally, though it may be a bit inappropriate, and I truly have no desire to offend any readers, I just had to share this parody: