Sympathy for the Ferguson protesters has mushroomed since a Missouri grand jury refused to indict former Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Protesters have kept the cause for justice alive, gaining widespread national and international attention.
Ferguson protesters surged to 1st place in poll after grand jury decision.
After the decision was announced, the protesters surged to first place in Time Magazine’s readers’ poll to help name the Person of the Year. India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi — the former front runner in a field of fifty — dropped to second place.
Activists have taken every opportunity to raise consciousness about race and police brutality in America. The day after the decision came out, they staged a #ShutItDown For Mike Brown campaign across the U.S., successfully stopping traffic on roads and freeways in 170 cities.
They disrupted the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday by breaking away from the designated ‘protest route’, triggering arrests. They shut down stores and malls on Black Friday with an action called ‘Black Lives Matter Friday’. On Monday, December 1st, they continue by organizing scores of #HandsUpWalkOut events around the nation.
Solidarity vigils in support of the Ferguson protesters have been held in such varied places as England, Ireland, Palestine, Canada. The depth and breadth of the passion behind the movement is what has put the protesters in first place by Time’s readers in the Person of the Year vote.
Fox News tried to belittle Time’s staff.
Fox News and its ilk, however, are having a fit about the attention being paid to the civil rights cause. According to commentator Tim Graham, “the staff at Time Magazine is aglow” at the change in the polls. He accused them of ‘oozing’ over the international attention given the protests.
Conservative pundits were quick to exaggerate the language and the tone even further. The Tea Party site ‘Gateway Pundit‘ jacked up the headlines to roll together ‘protesters’, ‘looters’, and ‘mob’ into one entity — the entity that could possibly win the vote. TPNN (Tea Party News Network) called the protesters ‘hooligans’, ‘race-hustlers’, and ‘looters’, saying:
The current lead for the Person of the Year award is truly disgusting.
However, these sites either ignore or downplay the meaning of the title. According to Time’s website:
Since 1927, TIME has named a person who for better or worse [emphasis is mine] has most influenced the news and our lives in the past year.
For better or worse. Whether the readers feel love, hate, or indifference, who — in their opinion — has been the most influential? The site further explains:
The Person of the Year is selected by TIME’s editors, but readers are asked to weigh in …
Over-the-top language of right-wing helps prove protesters’ influence.
So right-wing pundits can continue to rail against the Ferguson protesters if they like. But doesn’t that only prove the point? The point being what a powerful influence they are and have been on the national consciousness? When was the last time you were able to look at a media site and not see a headline about Ferguson?
As of this writing, the protesters still led with 10.7% of the vote. Nerendra Modi was a close second with 10.1%. For anyone wanting to add his/her opinion, click this link and cast your vote.
Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. on December 6th. The results of the readers’ poll will be announced on December 8th. The decision of the editors will be announced on December 10th.