As 2017 comes to a close, there seems to be a sense of relief in the air that we made it through the craziness that was 2017, and that hopefully 2018 will mean more progress and less absurdity. One thing to anticipate, however, before the year ends is Time's 2017 Person of the Year award. On Monday, Dec. 4, Time announced its top 10 finalists, and let's just say they are true to the spirit of 2017, meaning, of course, that they are controversial.
First up, in no particular order, is the #MeToo movement.
The movement itself is in the running as a possible recipient of the award, and it's quite fitting. After multiple women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the floodgates had opened for good (Weinstein largely denied accusations of assault). Following the lead of many actresses, women across the country joined together in a social media movement, #MeToo, to tell their stories of sexual abuse or harassment or just merely show solidarity by writing the hashtag without explanation. Our country is still in the midst of the aftermath, as powerful men in Hollywood, politics, and the media are being outed and facing consequences daily.
Second is Amazon Founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.
While Bezos is a less controversial pick, he also happens to be the richest person in the world. After Black Friday sales last week, Bezos hit the $100 million milestone. Bezos is the first since 1999 to pass Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' 12-figure net worth. For being the richest man in the world, Bezos has been criticized for not being the most charitable in comparison to Gates. Gates has given away $700 million in business shares and $2.9 billion in cash to charities, according to Bloomberg. The mogul, who has a net worth of $86.8 billion, would reportedly be worth more than $150 billion if he hadn't given a great deal away. Bezos, on the other hand, turned to Twitter earlier this year to ask for philanthropic ideas that he could get involved in. The Amazon owner also owns The Washington Post and was selected as Time's Person of the Year in 1999, which might mean it's time for somebody new.
Third, of course, is President Donald Trump.
Trump was fittingly selected as last year's recipient of the award, considering he was elected president just a month before. This year, however, I think it would be more than controversial if Trump won again. Trump even seems disinterested in being considered this year, after he tweeted in November saying, "Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named 'Man (Person) of the Year,' like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!" Let's hope Time reconsiders that "probably."
Fourth in the running is the 'little rocket man' Kim Jong-un.
The North Korean leader has been at odds with President Trump for much of 2017, as they have both threatened each other with serious nuclear threats. If Jong-un was to be selected for Time's award, our president, as well as many other Americans, would strongly disapprove.
Fifth is former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Talk about controversy. Kaepernick started "taking a knee" during the National Anthem performances when he was with his previous team, the San Francisco 49ers, during the NFL's 2016 preseason. Kaepernick continued his protest throughout the 2016 season, and in March 2017, decided not to finish out his contract with the 49ers. Since then, no team has decided to pick him up, which many believe is because of his controversial protest. Kaepernick protested to make a statement about the history of racial inequality that finds its roots in American history. His protest was since picked up in the 2017-18 season by other players, especially spurred by Trump's condemnation of the act. The silent protest cost Kaepernick his football career (at least for the time being) and created a national debate about an American's right to "take a knee" or not. While Kaepernick has received extreme pushback from conservative politicians, he is equally seen as a national hero to many progressives and activists.
Next is Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins.
Jenkins is the first woman to direct an American adaptation of a superhero movie. She also made history by having the biggest domestic opening ever for a female director. Needless to say, 2017 has been one hell of a year for women.
Number seven is Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In October, President Xi Jinping was elected for a second five-year term in China. Xi has received high praise from Trump, and has been considered the most powerful leader since former Chinese President Mao Zedong. Xi has helped China rise as a superpower and leading player in world politics and is sure to add to his legacy in the next five years.
The seventh contestant is the "Dreamers" of DACA.
Another controversial movement in 2017 was the fight for the Dreamers. In the first year of Trump's presidency, he has taken strides to dismantle former President Barack Obama's legacy and policies, one of those being the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA. The 800,000 undocumented immigrants that have been granted access to live in the United States are at risk of deportation if the program is dissembled. The implications and future of DACA recipients will likely be decided in early 2018, as Congress is currently deciding what to do moving forward.
Second to last is Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudia Arabian Crown Prince.
Salman was elected Crown Prince by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, this past June. Salman, at 32-years-old, is now the royal heir to the wealthy nation of Saudia Arabia, and many critics suspect that his bold leadership could change the direction of the country, for better or for worse. Salman also received the most votes for Time's polls on who should be voted Person of the Year, which closed today, Dec. 4.
Last, but not least, is former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
As if things were not controversial enough with this list. Mueller, since May 2017, has led the investigation into possible collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 president election. After the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, America has looked to Mueller to serve justice to those involved in the meddling, and he has proven himself. In October, Mueller indicted Paul Manafort, former manager of Trump's presidential campaign, and his partner Rick Gates on 12 counts, including "conspiracy against the United States." The most recent move in the investigation happened on Dec. 1, when former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Go Mueller!
Time is expected to announce the 2017 recipient on Wednesday, Dec. 6. They are sure to throw people for a loop by selecting just about anyone from this controversial list of possible winners.