Let's think about this. What does it take to be named in the top ten list of the most fascinating people of the year? Some of the lists that have been announced leave much to be desired.
Does it take writing a light porn book, or being an exploited-for-TV child. Does it mean you have to be the sister of a Duchess. Do you have to be in the one of those Hollywood families where no one can figure out why you are famous, or if you have ever accomplished anything of value.
Sex pots, Know nots, and Have-a-lots usually take the center stage this time of year...not that the sexy, stupid, and rich don't deserve recognition. They are people too.
The lists that have been announced so far are a sad commentary on our culture and values.
There are some who really do deserve recognition. They have earned respect because of their accomplishments. Actually there are many who would qualify for the list. Here are ten with very fascinating stories to be told. They should be nominated.
1. At the top of the list would be Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. Few in history can match their contribution to humanity.
2. The West Memphis Three - Jessie Misskelley, Charles Baldwin, and Damien Echols. How about being falsely convicted and then on death row for 18 years. Not many can top that (except those who were falsely convicted and then executed, such as Troy Davis). Also to be remembered are the families of crime victims - the families of the three killed children - Stevie Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore.
Lynne Stewart, and other victims of the legal system should make the list. Think of the interesting stories they could tell if they are ever released from prison.
3. Then there are those who dedicate their lives to working for justice. Ramsey Clark is a perfect example. The National Lawyers Guild and The Innocence Project should be honored. All the lawyers who volunteer their time and talent to free the falsely convicted should make the list. Maybe the ACLU should be recognized... not too sure about that one yet. Still waiting to see how much support they will give for First Amendment Rights and freedom of political speech which has been under attack in Vermont.
4. Think about all those in the OCCUPY Movement. They really came through when FEMA and the Red Cross failed to help the victims of Super Storm Sandy.
5. There are many who work tirelessly to spread the truth: Bill Blum, Glen Greenwald, Jeremy Schahill, Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, Amy Goodman, William Quigley, Ward Churchill.......... the list is endless.
6. There are those who maintain, at their own expense, web sites where important information can be shared. Thanks, your contribution to humanity is appreciated every day by many.
7. There are those brave souls who risk their personal safety and face imprisonment because they support peace and justice - the Hancock Drone Base protesters, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant protesters, the protesters at the Fort Benning School of Assassins.
8. What about Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Peta Lindsay, and all other candidates whose names were on the ballot so that voters would have a choice for president that would be an alternative to the Democratic/Republican Party candidates.
9. Think about Ralph Nader. He just keeps on working for peace and economic justice. His legacy is unmatched. He should be on the list and we should have a national "Ralph Nader Day".
10. And then there are the anonymous, nameless people in our community who work to help the homeless, the hungry, the abused - those who recognize the impact of disenfranchisement, and try to do something about it. They often work without pay - true examples of altruism. We owe them our gratitude.
There is no shortage of fascinating people, which is why the lists that are out there are so troubling.
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|Allen L. Jasson|
|William John Cox|