TIME magazine has revealed their 2012 person of the year (and unsurprisingly), and they chose President Barack Obama. Other notable people that TIME considered for this year’s honor was the fabulous gay Apple CEO Tim Cook, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, and the courageous Pakistani teen education advocate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot and critically wounded for her campaign against the Taliban's policy to forbid women from being educated.
Each year TIME magazine chooses a “person, group, idea or object that for better or for worse, has done the most to influence the events of the year,” for their year end issue. I think that all of the individuals they considered had an impact on the world beyond their immediate constituency, and in my opinion the magazine chose the right person.
Full disclosure, I campaigned and worked to see the president re-elected (I “phone banked” or made phone calls for the Obama/Biden re-election campaign).
Obama’s election in 2008 was historic, and his re-election in 2012 historic as well, maybe more so. I think it’s also evidence that his presidency will likely be the most transformative since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.
The President’s steady hand in the face of a crisis, and his resolve to tackle the most pressing issues of the day, together with his unequivocal support for LGBT equality and marriage equality, make him my person of the year too.
His critics call him the “teleprompter” president, and that doesn’t diminish the fact that President Obama is a good speaker. His appeal goes well beyond his rhetoric. If you listened to what he had to say in the wake of the Newtown massacre, and at the vigil last Sunday, his words echoed what most of the country was feeling. He’s not just the Commander-in-chief, he’s the Dad-in-chief too.
I recently heard a statistic that 60% of voters under the age of 35, voted to reelect the president. That reflects a seismic shift in voter sentiment, and is evidence that multiculturalism and diversity is in, and the time honored tradition of a ruling class that consists solely of straight old white men, is out. Our nation can only be better for that, and in spite of the pall that’s been hanging over our country since 9/11, the future looks extremely bright.
TIME magazine interviewed President Obama last week in the oval office. In their article “Setting the Stage for a Second Term,” TIME editor Richard Stengel, White House reporter Michael Scherer and executive editor Radhika Jones, recount their wide ranging conversation. They write:
TIME: So we’ll start right in. In fact, we’re going to go so far ahead. If we were sitting here four years from now and you were looking back on what your legacy is as a two-term Democratic President — we know what Ronald Reagan did and we know what FDR did — what would you want people to say about your two terms?
THE PRESIDENT: I think what I’d want people to say is that having come in at a time when our economy was on the brink of collapse, when we had gone through a decade in which middle-class families were doing worse and worse, and the ladders of opportunity into the middle class for people who were willing to work hard had begun to deteriorate; at a time when, internationally, we were embroiled in two wars but our leadership around the world was being questioned, that we had steered this ship of state so that we once again had an economy that worked for everybody; that we had laid the foundation for broad-based prosperity; and that internationally we had created the framework for continued American leadership in the world throughout the 21st century, while recognizing that the world is changing and that we should encourage the kind of growth and development in other parts of the world, but over the long term will be good for us and good for the world.
So I think about this eight-year project as one in which domestically on education, on energy, on tax policy, on manufacturing, on research and science we have gotten our — we’ve shaken off some ongoing problems that have hampered our growth, we have reasserted the idea that if you work hard in this country, you can make it. And that we’ve also accommodated all the demographic changes, and cultural and technological changes that are taking place, and been able to marry those with some of the old-fashioned virtues of hard work and discipline and responsibility — all in a way that allows us to succeed and to thrive, and not just for a few at the top, but for the many.Congratulations Mr. President!