TIME magazine has selected President elect Barack Obama their man of the year, excuse me, Person of the Year, I must maintain my political correctness, especially since I reside most of my waking hours here in Berkeley, land of the free, home of the intensely politically correct. Actually, that is a very good choice from TIME’s point of view, since sitting presidents always get a top billing and Obama is certainly going to be a media favorite for a while. So he was an obvious choice. Who else could it have been? Sarah Palin? A from out of nowhere throw back to the pre-Darwinian 19th century. That choice would have so outraged their readership that they would have lost half of their subscriptions over night.
From my point of view their choice should be based on someone actually accomplishing something of great merit and the fact that Obama has a skin tone half a shade darker than previous presidents doesn’t mean much to me. Those people who claim that we are electing a black man for the first time are closet racists to my way of thinking. The way I see it his oath of office should mean he is going to represent all Americans, not just those which he was formerly representing in Chicago. In fact his oath of office is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and being a Constitutional lawyer from Harvard he should be able to do that much better than any former president. It is a bit curious and worrisome that the two highest posts in the land come from what has to be a very tiny community of people, Harvard Constitutional lawyers. The other one being our Chief Justice, the sitting head of our legal branch of government, John Roberts. Another strange and disturbing fact is that six of the current nine Supreme Court justices come from that single source. In other words Harvard Law School dominates the United States! They are all fine people, no doubt, but we common people might worry about so many of the final decision makers coming from such a tiny constituency with what has to become a very narrowed frame of reference. Our country was designed to avoid having a military caste system, which has plagued countries like Germany, but perhaps the founding fathers overlooked the threat of too great a concentration of legal opinions. So far it has worked quite well but perhaps it would work better if we had a broader representation.
All of those people have far more power and clout than my choice for man of the year. But, I make my choice on a slightly different criterion than TIME. I choose my person on my guess as who has done something so remarkable that it will be remembered 500 years in the future. Surely the half tone of a man’s skin isn’t going to be remarkable in the slightest in that passage of time and for Obama to be remembered will have to be based on some outstanding accomplishment. He must do something which is still important to those people at that time. We have two such people on TIME’s list of potential candidates. They are Jimmy Wales who created Wikipedia and Craig Venter who sequenced the human genome and the ocean and is doing some other things also. Venter will surely rate a person of the year on my rating system one of these years because he has done so many remarkable things. Wales, at this point, has done only one truely remarkable thing but that one thing is absolutely remarkable and it will endure for the rest of advanced humanity’s tour of this planet. Wikipedia is a growing and ever growing and ever more refined collection of human thought. In a way it was obvious and yet it took even Wales several years of failure with the idea until he finally got it right. But when he did it exploded in its value to humanity. Thank You Jimmy Wales!!!
The complete up-to-present list of – Probaway Person of the Year:
- 2017 – Albert Einstein for predicting black holes, their collisions creating gravity waves, and the laser for observing the gravity waves.
- 2016 – Xi Jinping for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
- 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth created theories that lead to proofs this year of mass and gravity sources.
- 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
- 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
- 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
- 2011 – Craig Venter laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
- 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
- 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
- 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.
These may seem like strange choices but they are potentially long-term-memorable events which had a major tipping point the year before their selection.