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Person of the Year

Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, JFK, MLK, Barack Obama, Donald Trump.

Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Richard Nixon, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump.

It’s yet to be seen which side of history Trump will end up on. Depending on your political leanings, you may feel inclined to include Trump in one list of people over the other. Nevertheless, each person listed above is a former Time Person of the Year.

On December 8, Time Magazine named Donald Trump their 2016 Person of the Year.  While some found were surprised, a look at the history of the title shows Time was bound to recognize Trump as the most influential person of 2016.

Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” is an annual issue of the magazine that features and profiles a person, group, idea, or object that “for better or worse…has done the most to influence the events of the year”.

There is no doubt in my mind that Trump fits that definition. Throughout his campaign, Trump consistently drew attention from the entire country for his outspoken nature and revolving door of scandals. The president-elect was the center of political attention coming into the new year, drew even more attention during its course, and will likely be the media’s focal point for the next four years.

During the year of a presidential election, the events of the year are almost solely focused on who will soon be leading our country. The description of Person of the Year almost sets up the president-elect to be named. In fact, every President – whether it was their year elected or during their presidency – in the award’s history has been named Person of the Year.

Time stated that the president-elect doesn’t necessarily make the cover; however, those who represent a shift in the political life of the nation are more likely to be named.

The magazine recognized Hillary Clinton as runner up. Had the election gone the other way, the roles would have, without a doubt, been reversed.

Clinton won the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes, yet lost the election by 74 electoral votes. In losing the election, she also lost the chance to be named Person of the Year. It’s certain that winning the election would have secured her the cover, as shattering the glass ceiling and beating out Trump would do more than earn her the title.

The Person of the Year isn’t always a person, though. Until 1999, the issue was called “Man of the Year”, but it wasn’t always a man, either. In 1960, U.S. Scientists were recognized. The Middle Americans, or “silent majority”, were recognized in 1969. The Computer was designated “Machine of the Year” in 1982, while you were recognized in 2006.

That’s right. In 2006, Time Magazine named you Person of the Year. The magazine attempted to recognize millions of people who used the World Wide Web to bring together a global community in the new digital age.

As far as I see it, there’s no reason why you can’t be named again in 2017. Multiple people have been featured more than once, and so can you. You are the people that will fight to improve our world without relying on some government to do it for you. You are the people who can help others out of the kindness of your hearts. You are the people who will shape and impact 2017 – and every year to come – for the better.

Donald Trump may have won the election. Donald Trump may have been named Person of the Year. Donald Trump may have done a lot of things, but you are the people who will actually make a difference.

About The Author

Sam Palmisano

Sam Palmisano is a freshman dual-majoring in economics and marketing. Sam loves kayaking and ping pong. Outside of Eagle News, Sam is a member of the Honors program and Student Conduct Committee, and serves as President of the Palmetto Hall Area Council. His goals are to be a political economist and to one day run for Congress. You can find Sam getting into arguments on social media or playing frisbee on the library lawn.

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