By Leilani Corpus
Published January 1, 1988
Man of the Year. The title seems to ring with dignity, courage, and nobility of purpose … the most outstanding man of 1987. One who has not only done great things for mankind, but also for God and country. A man consumed with a passion for justice, truth, and integrity. One who has sacrificed his own welfare to help the unfortunate, the poor, and the oppressed. That is what enters my mind when I hear someone mention, “The Man of The Year.”
According to Time magazine, that man is Mikhail Gorbachev, the Secretary General of the Soviet Union. He has certainly been in the news this year. Acclaimed as the leader of a new generation of Soviets, he is certainly a man with a noble appearance, a striking countenance, and a sincere smile – and he is, of course, a great spokesman for peace. His concern for mankind must be applauded as he travels and negotiates to rid Europe of nuclear missiles. I would also agree that Mr. Gorbachev is the most skilled leader that the USSR has had in a long time – possibly even the best ever. But that should be expected from someone so highly honored.
As Man of the Year, I would also expect that he would have a great concern for the oppressed people of the world, such as those in Afghanistan. I would expect him to be motivating the huge Soviet agricultural machine into high productivity to help feed the starving people of the world such as those in Ethiopia.
As Man of the Year you might expect him to set a courageous example for peace by being the first to dismantle and destroy his nation’s missiles – which poise ready to destroy Europe and the rest of the globe. Another appropriate move might be to humbly confess his own shortcomings as well as his nation’s past crimes, such as the murder of the innocent passengers aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007.
You might expect the Man of the Year to be doing everything within his means to bring an end to the grueling war and terrorism plaguing the Mideastern nations of Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and others. You would also expect him to have a listening ear to those in his nation who would like to leave the Soviet Union.
It seems strange to me that in all the coverage I saw of the Soviet leader in 1987, I failed to notice any mention of his concern for the Ethiopians or the actual destruction of Soviet missiles. Did I miss it? Have they started the dismantling? The grain must have been delivered on a day when I missed the news. Or maybe it’s that my expectations for the Man of the Year are just a little too high. Surely the editors of Time knew what they were doing when they selected Mr. Gorbachev. To receive the honor of Man of the Year, he must be doing something right.
Now here is a thought: forgive me if I’m offending anyone for suggesting it, but could it be that the thing Gorbachev is doing so well is acting? I know! He rented all the videos of President Reagan’s movies, and then took an acting class at the University of Moscow. But if that is the case, Time gave him the wrong award. He should have received an Oscar.
Now, I don’t mean any disrespect by that. In fact, our own president seems to think he is really different and that we are beginning to see significant change in the Soviet Union. Yet common sense tells me to be a little more skeptical on this issue. We have signed treaties with the Soviet Union before, and to my knowledge they have all been broken. Mr. Gorbachev appears to be more sincere than past Soviet leaders, but we can base that assumption only on his own words.
What is truth to a Communist? Traditionally, it is whatever advances the cause of Communism. One of their foundational doctrines is that of the dialectic. Stating it loosely, “It is alright to take two steps backward, if later it will enable you to move three steps up.” The ultimate goal remains the same, and Gorbachev himself stated it eloquently in a speech made just this past November:
“We can see today that humanity is not really condemned to always live the way it did before October, 1917. Socialism has evolved into a powerful, growing, and developing reality. It is the October Revolution and socialism that show humankind the road to the future … In October, 1917, we parted with the Old World, rejecting it once and for all. We are moving towards a new world, the world of communism. We shall never turn off that road.”
Based on those words, I could award him with the title of Communist of the Year. Judging his grip on the majority of the media, I could also award him with Diplomat of the Year. But I’m not quite sure about the title that Time gave him. If you agree with me, please write the editors of Time and let them know how you feel.
“Shelter From The Storm” by PowerSource
GAINESVILLE, FL (FR) – A Christian song about child abuse became one of the top 10 hits on secular radio stations throughout the U.S. during the last few weeks of 1987 and prompted several child abusers to seek rehabilitation.
A woman told a Fort Worth radio station that the song forced her to think of how she’d beaten her child. “I realized that the cycle of abuse was continuing with this generation. … The cycle stops with this letter,” she wrote.
The song is from the album “Shelter From The Storm” by PowerSource, a Bedford, Texas-based evangelical youth chorus featuring nine-year-old soloist Sharon Batts.
The song begins, “Dear Mr. Jesus, I don’t understand why they took her Mom and Dad away. I know that they don’t mean to hit with wild and angry hands. Tell them just how big they are, I pray.” Dear Mr. Jesus, they say that she may die. Oh, I hope the doctors stop the pain. I know that you could save her and take her up to the sky so she would never have to hurt again.”
The record cracked Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart at 63. It was considered a fast-rising song, according to Thomas Noonan, the magazine’s director of charts. “This falls into a different category,” Noonan said. “It’s a topical record that happened to hit on a sensitive area at a sensitive time. This kind of phenomenon is exciting to our business.”
The nine-year-old vocalist Sharon Batts appeared with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers National Football league team at a benefit for child abuse crisis centers in the Tampa area in December. She said she is pleased when she hears stories of people who have been touched by the song. “It makes me feel good because I know that those people haven’t had help,” she said.
About 100,000 copies of the single have been ordered, although only 15,000 copies have been sold. Sharon’s mother, Jan Batts, is the group’s creative director. “It has just grown so fast,” she said. “It’s difficult to say it’s under control.”
The Gospel Workshop for Children Inc., a non-profit, non-denominational group, started PowerSource five years ago to produce records and videos for troubled children who have no one to help them. The group commissioned songwriter Richard Klender to write “Dear Mr. Jesus” at the suggestion of a board member who had been abused as a child.
In some cities, record stores and radio stations are joining to sell the album and are giving the profits to local child abuse crisis centers. Proceeds from orders made directly to PowerVision will be used to offset distribution costs which the tiny record label has accrued, Batts said.
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