Matt Towery

If there's a lesson to be learned from the past year or so, it's that ultimately we all must be responsible for our own economic and personal well-being. That's ironic, because with the current "it takes a village" collectivist mentality we see coming from Washington, it seems counterintuitive to suggest that the lesson of 2009 is self-reliance.

But think about it: Who keeps you going? Is it a government handout, some bureaucratic plan, a shot of stimulus into your wallet? Likely not. Recent times have taught us that the party can end quickly. And when everything comes crashing down, we and our families must turn within to find the resources to survive.

Now as we round the corner toward another Election Day, followed quickly by the end of another year, it seems only natural to reflect on what we have all been through, either personally or together with friends, relatives and coworkers.

When President Obama was named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, I had my own opinion about the award's timeliness -- or lack of it. But I held off on making a stink about it. The reality is the Nobel Prize really doesn't mean much to the American people anymore, and it neither enhanced nor hurt Obama in his standing in public opinion polls.

It's another award that interests me. Assuming there still is a Time Magazine this coming year -- the publication is losing readership rapidly -- I have a nomination for the magazine's next "Person of the Year." I would nominate the American people.

With very little guidance and scant real help, millions of Americans have scurried about, trying to make the best they can in the biggest economic downturn of most of our lifetimes. They've proved that no matter what rhetoric we hear from the politicians, the virtues that have helped Americans through the past year have been individualism, self-reliance and the liberty that allows us to make our own choices about thing that matter.

For that we deserve a prize -- a collective "People of the Year."

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery