Culture

2019 Man of the Year: Nick Sandmann

Nick Sandmann and Nathan Phillips

Edmund Burke said example is the school of mankind. But sadly, today's youth lack good role models. Beset by Instagram "influencers" on one side and vapid "YouTubers" on the other, Gen Z is growing up to be the dumbest and wimpiest generation yet. Is there anyone who can provide some peer leadership?

Enter Sandmann.

Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann demonstrated character well beyond his years when he placidly defused a powder keg on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. While waiting for a bus after the annual March for Life, Sandmann and his fellow students drew the unsolicited ire of three groups, each more treacherous than the last. First, the racist Black Hebrew Israelites showed up spouting their usual bigotry, and then phony Vietnam vet and Native American activist Nathan Phillips began harassing the students with a torrent of aggressive drumming.

But then came the mainstream media.

Running to the Washington Post with a "too good to check" tall tale about racist kids in MAGA hats, Phillips created a PR nightmare for the school until video evidence and Sandmann's brave truth-telling turned the story on its head.

As it turned out, Sandmann treated the little drummer man with courtesy and respect, only to be stabbed in the back when Phillips smeared him in the press. Sandmann handled it all with class and a pleasant smile, and after much sound and fury the media gave up when it became clear the evidence was decisively on Sandmann's side. Score another one for those who just want to make America great.

Other Covington students learned from the model behavior Sandmann exhibited, and video shows he even helped calm down another student unnerved by the situation. Heroes lead, the rest follow, and Covington Catholic is no doubt an even stronger institution thanks to him.

But Sandmann's classmates aren't the only ones who benefited from the teen icon's example. The whole country watched his redemption unfold—and that turned him into a role model for America's youth, as well as a Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year.