Enter Stage Right's Second Annual Person of the Year

Actually, this year we have two!

web posted December 1997

This year's title, Person of the Year, is somewhat of a misnomer since Enter Stage Right is actually celebrating two individuals for their contributions during 1997. Out of the thousands of submissions (well, okay, not quite thousands), we've chosen two people that we feel best exemplify the movement for liberty, individualism and capitalism. Telling perhaps, that not one European was nominated (besides a mysterious nomination of Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams), leading us to ask whether there are any conservatives left in Europe. There certainly seem to be none in England.

And Asia? Our definition of conservative generally precludes most of the chaps that rule Asia's former tigers. Africa? The Middle East? Although we like Benjamin Netanyahu, Bibi didn'tt equate himself very well this year. Latin America? Where exactly is this worldwide victory of conservative beliefs?

So Enter Stage Right had to settle with North American candidates. In the case of Canada it was a relatively easy decision, although an American choice was a little more difficult. On then, to our selections for the Enter Stage Right Person of the Year.

Canada

In slightly less than ten years the Reform Party, a grassroots formed party, moved from a small meeting hall in British Columbia to the Official Opposition of Canada. Much of that has to do with its founder and leader, Preston Manning.

Originally decried as a crackpot by both the left and right-wing media, Manning and his party's ideas have none-the-less gained a currency among many Canadians, even if they did not vote for him this past June. Although the Liberal Party won a second term, and the New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives were reborn as official political parties, it was the platform of the Reform Party which was discussed by Canadians. It was their platform that everyone else was dealing with, reacting to, and stealing from.

It has been a long battle for the party. Starting off with one elected MP in 1989, the party has worked hard in every riding to gain the credibility that is automatically given the tired traditional parties. Although it failed to win one seat past the Manitoba-Ontario border, Manning was the thing to talk about across Canada during an otherwise boring election campaign punctuated with only brief bits of actual dialogue.

Although Paul Martin is winning points for winning the fight against the federal government's deficit, it was Manning and the Reform Party who early on called for fiscal responsibility. The pressure the federal government feels to reduce taxes is in part due to Reform Party pledges during the election campaign. It is the Reform Party which speaks of treating all provinces the same, while the Liberals wish to give special status to racist separtists in Quebec. While Progressive Conservative Jean Charest called for banks to "give back to their communities", Preston Manning argued for a smaller government and pro-business.

Like every politician, Manning is not perfect. His conservatism, or populism as he might tell you, has its underpinnings in religilous thought. Be that as it may, Mannings positives far out his negatives. His voice has once again given credibility and promoted an ethos often ignored in Canada. It is the belief in the individual, freedom and the free market.

To Preston Manning, who brought conservatives out of the wilderness in this year's Canadian federal election, goes one shiny Person of the Year Award.

United States

We had to work hard to find a conservative that we found palatable. The Republican Party, less conservative than timid, featured few worthy candidates. Fred Thompson's fundraising committee failed thanks to stonewalling from the White House and his own grandiose proclamations about finding a vast conspiracy. Newt Gingrich, under steady attack since the Republican 'revolution', has decided to whole-heartedly embrace the left. We could go on, but the exercise is best left to those who enjoy pulling bandages off slowly.

Enter Stage Right had initially planned on naming another candidate to U.S. Person of the Year, and up until November 29, was putting the finishing touches on this very section. That is, until we received a last minute submission which prompted some research. The evidence bares out that the last minute switch was the right choice.

As the caption to the photo states, voting Republican is not always a waste of time. Representative Dr. Ron Paul (R - Texas) is one of those politicians you can vote for and feel good that while he may not always do right, you know that he at least believes in what he's doing is right.

Dr. Paul is one of the few in Washington, D.C. who still believes in individual liberty, though it's not perhaps surprising considering that was the Libertarian Party nominee for the US Presidency in 1988.

He's not a perfect candidate for our honour though, as he is a rare duck indeed -- a Libertarian who is anti-choice; and according to the 1996 Project Vote Smart/Congressional National Political Awareness Test Dr. Paul also wishes to "Further limit the number of immigrants allowed into the country."

So why does Dr. Paul deserve our nod? He believes that any federal government activities that go beyond the strictly defined limits set by the Founding Fathers are unconstitutional, and despite so many years in Washington, D.C., he still votes according to that belief.

"His refusal to compromise was legendary during his previous stint in Congress. Dr. Paul voted against federal programs in his own front yard, including NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center and the Houston Medical Center. Business interests were horrified, and in 1980 gave so much money to his Democratic challenger that he outspent the incumbent Dr. Paul by two to one. Dr. Paul still won by 6,000 votes."

Wall Street Journal (January 13, 1997)

It's rare to find a politician worthy of our respect and Dr. Ron Paul is one of those people. Although his own party considers him an "oddball" and does not support him, he has the full support of this ejournal.

The Winners..past and present

1997 - Reform Party Leader Preston Manning (Canada)
1997 - Representative Dr. Ron Paul (R - 14th District of Texas)
1996 - Ontario Premier Mike Harris




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