We have discussed the biggest losers from last year, so now it’s time to spotlight those who won —though not always conventionally.
Political Correctness: A winner every year, PC has shown its incredible ability to not just persevere, but thrive, thanks mainly to people not demanding an end to the insanity. Sure, we’ve heard about crazy elementary school suspensions, stupid workplace rules, and educators banning tag and ballplaying — which only permits them to feel good about themselves, while making their students miserable — but perhaps the best PC story of the year recently took place in Texas.
Young school students had made Christmas cards for bedridden veterans, yet VA officials, in a move that made Scrooge look downright angelic, refused to allow the children’s holiday wishes into the hospital because they contained those vile and offensive phrases "Merry Christmas" and "God Bless You." Yep, surely those who sacrificed so much for their country would have gotten sick to their stomachs after receiving such insensitive handmade cards.
How do the people who make such rules still have jobs, and who are the idiots that follow them?
We have become a nation of pansies, scared to take on the extremely small but very vocal PC police who day in and day out erode the freedoms so many died to protect. Losing rights forcibly is bad enough, but voluntarily giving them away is inexcusable. Here’s hoping political correctness doesn’t make next year’s Winners list.
Ohio Kidnapper Ariel Castro: The man who kidnapped, tortured and repeatedly raped three women while holding them captive for more than ten years finally did something right — he killed himself in prison. Not only did he spare taxpayers millions of dollars, but infinitely more important, he gave finality to the unimaginable terror those victims felt every day for a decade. Nothing could ever come close to righting the wrongs committed against those poor women, but knowing that Castro no longer draws breath is the next best thing. Hopefully he started a trend among his ilk currently in jail.
Are you listening Jerry Sandusky?
Dennis Rodman The Comic: The former NBA star has made his fourth trip to North Korea to pal around with his best buddy, leader Kim Jong Un, even singing him a Happy Birthday song. Rodman’s diplomatic skills were on full display during a CNN interview in which he exploded in a rant about an American held captive by Jong Un. Unfortunately, his sentiments were impossible to comprehend because of his significant trouble speaking the English language (sure hope his Korean is better), actually making him more incoherent than Joe Biden. To top it off, his too-many-piercings-to-count are simply mesmerizing. Thank God his hair isn’t still purple.
Since he continually shrugs off the fact that North Korea is the most repressive regime on the planet, states his "love" for Jong Un, and labeled his trip a great idea for the world, Rodman has shown that, yes, Virginia, there is life after professional sports — in the comedic arts.
Democratic Party (national): The Dems just got a mammoth boost for 2016 as leading Republican Chris Christie finds himself in a controversy that might, just might, have the power to send his presidential campaign on a bridge to nowhere. After weeks of rumors, there seems to be a smoking gun in the widening "Bridge-Gate" scandal. At issue is alleged retribution by Christie’s office, his campaign and his hand-picked officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey against Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee (where the roads of the town lead onto the George Washington Bridge — the world’s busiest).
Apparently, Christie’s forces were angry that Sokolich didn’t endorse their man, who wanted to tout bipartisan support as a path to the presidential nomination.
So, in an act that can only be described as mindboggling, three lanes of the bridge were closed for four days, including the first day of school and the anniversary of 9/11. The result was unparalleled gridlock, where a normal half-hour commute became four hours, emergency workers were unable to respond to calls, and school buses arrived hours late, all prompting calls of help from Sokolich that went gleefully unanswered.
These theoretically intelligent people can’t — just can’ t— have been that stupid. If it turns out they were, Christie will be hard-pressed to bridge the widening gap between his credibility and being the (very large) butt of jokes. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and this may be one cake too many for the Guv.
Democratic Party (Pennsylvania): As if Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania’s beleaguered Republican Governor, didn’t have enough problems, such as hovering near single-digit approval. Now comes word that on the "Farm Families For Corbett" campaign website, where it reads, "Pennsylvania Farm Families Endorse Tom Corbett," the farmers in the photos aren’t actually Pennsylvanians. In fact, they’re not even Americans, but Canadians. Too bad Canucks can’t vote, ehhh Tommy?
Since agriculture happens to be the state’s number one industry, pollsters are wondering if a politician can somehow attain a negative approval rating. Neat, ehh?
Kate Middleton (if she’s pregnant): Back in July, this columnist, in an open letter to Duchess Kate, implored her to become pregnant again as an example for the West to have more children and reverse its negative birthrates: "We know you have your hands full, but at the risk of sounding anxious, please do us a favor — have another child. Quickly. And two or three more after that."
Well, the rumors are flying that William and Kate will be new parents again later this year. If true, that would be a stellar move for the Royal Family. Not only would it bolster British pride, but would set the stage for more families wanting more children, and, hopefully, lead to reform of anti-family tax policies so prevalent in America, Europe and Japan. It would also send the needed message that family is more important than material things. If dynamic world leaders like William and Kate choose to make family life and having children their priority issues, the West’s decline, might, just might, being reversed. God Save the Queen.
Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher: Two of history’s most inspirational leaders passed away last year, individuals whose achievements make them ultimate winners.
Thatcher’s bold actions were legendary: staring down and helping defeat the Evil Empire (freeing millions behind the wall), retaking the Falkland Islands, jumpstarting a stagnant British economy, and, epitomizing her steely determination, declaring to doubters, "You turn if you want to…this Lady’s not for turning."
Above all, her unwavering resolve recaptured something that had been so tragically lost — British pride. Farewell Iron Lady.
And then there was Mandela, a larger-than-life figure who endured isolation, imprisonment and torture with a dignity nearly impossible to comprehend. For 27 years he toiled in a South African jail, yet never gave up on his dream of freedom — not his own, but for all peoples in South Africa. In pursuit of that goal, he learned his adversary’s language and culture, constantly educated himself on the issues, and advocated peaceful reforms. Upon his release, when he could have called for violence against his oppressors, Mandela instead worked hand-in-hand with them, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nelson Mandela’s legacy is one that will forever inspire the oppressed to fight for equality and democracy. In his quintessential humbleness, Mandela once stated, "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
But with all due respect, Mr. Mandela, if anyone’s successes should be judged, they are yours. Rest in peace.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at [email protected]
About the Author
Chris Freind writes a weekly column for the Daily Times. Reach the author at [email protected] .