According to Managing Editor, Nancy Gibbs, Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people (with Beyonce on the cover) are significant achievers of the past year and likely to continue their powerful ways. One assumes those already showcased in past issues, are less likely to currently appear.
Remember the criteria is influential, not necessarily rich, though both attributes tend to coexist, and their influence can be negative, positive, or both. That is why those with negative democratic influence like the Koch brothers are on the list. As a continuing purveyor of misinformation and past Bush’s Brain, why does Karl Rove choose to be Koch brother apologist?
Their influence was bought with mostly inherited wealth, which, I suppose, in their minds sanctions their right to strangle our democracy and help replace it with an oligarchy. The Supreme Court seems to have tailored the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions for the Kochs and their hundreds of millions of dollars to spend, as though fashioned for the Kochs.
Family murderer and slow assassin of the starving North Korean people, Kim Jong Un is as physically stunted by heredity, as he seems to be mentally and emotionally by nurture. Time, circumstance and breeding made him the bad boy of the North with influence no meritocracy would ever give, but his command of WMDs, by happenstance, does.
Miley Cyrus, naked on a wrecking ball, seems like a poor choice. A kid star as Hannah Montana, now a product of her handelers’ brainstorming and marketing — stunts out of the Madonna-Beyonce-Lady Gaga playbook gave her renewed attention. If the outlandish and the voyeuristic is alone a measure of influence, she made it. Otherwise, I’m sure – as Dolly says – that Miley is a great kids, and maybe a good singer, but one of a 100 with global influence and promise for the future – I doubt it?
Kerry Washington seems like an intelligent and lovely person. I have watched parts of Scandal, seen her interviewed, and noted her promotion of the Arts and the Humanities with the President’s committee. Her positive image in public, her self-command and her skillful acting on the screen provide inspiration to other young people who so sorely need a good mentor.
Probably the Koch brothers have had more influence on our economy and the slapdown of working men and women through the Tea Party they were so instrumental in forming, but Barack Obama and Eric Holder are both worthy of making the top 100. After a slow start as Attorney General, Eric Holder, is having a coming out party, fighting for lighter sentences for drug crimes, making a belated effort to hold Wall Street accountable for its crimes, trying to defend voter suppression laws, and worked to represent interests of the undocumented. Though so far doing little to combat the overwhelming influence of Wall Street, Obama has been a champion of the people, especially with health care and belatedly with other issues. Certainly the absence of both Holder and Obama would leave our democracy hobbled.
Vladimir Putin must be a choice as well, for his global influence cannot be challenged. One wonders if he is an imperialistic product of the Bush administration era, watching the antics of the neo-conservatives, who seemed to violate individual rights, practice deception, and invade countries based on the administration’s own agenda. He is doing all three in the Ukraine.
At a time when five robes in the Supreme Court, seeming to operate out of blind bias, tell us that racism is over, Steve McQueen tells a story that must be told about the unbridled brutality of slavery. It reminds us of the many ways that racism is not over: non-white faces in prison, botched executions of mostly blacks, disenfranchised felons with drug convictions, high jobless rates, poor schools, and high rates of homelessness.
Bigots like billionaire Donald Sterling still have bitter bias on their lips. Ranchers like Cliven Bundy show their ignorance and hypocrisy. On the one hand Bundy cheats Americans taxpayers out of a million dollars, while out of his duplicitous mouth comes oaths of bias and bigotry, summarily representing “negroes” as takers and wondering if they would be better off as slaves picking cotton.
Certainly Edward Snowden has been influential and will continue to be so. Without his revelations of spying, the world would not know about the level of domestic spying done by the NSA. He has changed forever the debate about human rights and freedom.
Serena Williams is aptly described by Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat as “the Warrior who refuses to quit.” She certainly has been an inspiration in her work ethic, as well as her superior skills, but not just in sports. She has also shown she’s human in rare behavior outbursts as well.
Janet Yellen is a welcome addition in that we finally have a woman in the fed and someone who can identify with Main Street, not just Wall Street. Maybe she represents a new step down Main Street rather than a Larry Summers step for Wall Street. I assess her influence that way.
For most part, I believe that Time Magazine has identified the right people of influence, whether affecting us negatively or positively — or perhaps even both. Since we are regrettably a culture drawn to celebrity rather than how we are [mis]ruled, some choices will assuredly lean in that direction.