Thursday, April 21, 2005
The Greatest American
What do George Washington, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Ellen Degeneres, Rush Limbaugh, Susan B. Anthony, Arnold Schwazenegger, Malcolm X, Jonas Salk, Tiger Woods, Joseph Smith, Cesar Chavez, Michael Moore, Alexander Graham Bell, Madonna, 2 Clintons (Bill and Hillary), 3 Roosevelts (Teddy, Franklin, Eleanor), 3 Kennedys (JFK, RFK, and Jackie), 4 Bushes (George H.W., Barbara, George W., and Laura...what, we can't get some love for Jeb up in here??), Oprah Winfrey, Benjamin Franklin, Walt Disney, Muhammad Ali, Lucille Ball, Nikola Tesla, Dr. Phil, Frederick Douglass, Bill Gates, Babe Ruth, Elvis, Condoleezza Rice, and 15 Presidents (besides those already named above there's also Carter, Eisenhower, Jefferson, LBJ, Lincoln, Nixon, Reagan, and Truman) have in common?
Well, my friends, they're all on the list of the top 100 finalists in a poll looking to name the "Greatest Americans". The Discovery Channel (which should know better) and AOL (which doesn't know better) teamed up to conduct the poll and after tallying 500,000 votes (I'm guessing that there was some massive American Idol-style ballot stuffing going on...I mean, come on, Dr. Phil?!? :-) they came up with a list that is..oh, let's be generous and say "eclectic".
On June 5, Discovery will begin a series, hosted by Matt Lauer, entitled Greatest American that will be counting down the list and, this being the great democracy that it is, also allowing "we the people" to vote for our choice of THE greatest American (that should prove interesting...)
A list like this isn't meant to be taken that seriously (at least I sure hope not...after all, Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Senators Barack Obama and John Edwards, Brett Favre, Tom Cruise, Donald Trump, Lance Armstrong, and Marilyn Monroe are on the list...while, for example, Thurgood Marshall, Robert E. Lee, Duke Ellington, Chief Joseph, Walt Whitman, Bob Dylan, Sacagawea, Will Rogers, Louis Armstrong, and Lewis & Clark are not) but rather as a starting point for discussion and debate (and as evidence that a lot of the voters had a sense of history that went back no further than their own childhoods at best.)
I'll be (somewhat) interested to see how the 100 folks end up being ranked (a complete alphabetical listing of the 100 is available at the Discovery Channel site...click on the link two paragraphs above.)