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A win for husbands: Why Esquire naming Mark Kelly 'American of the Year' is out of this world

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Thank God it's not Ashton Kutcher.

Maybe this convention of magazines naming someone the so-and-so of the year is a little silly. Is Facebook any more or less omnipresent because Mark Zuckerberg got Time's Person of the Year?

Does anyone care that Bradley Cooper got Sexiest Man of the Year, except for Cooper and the dozen or so protesters who would have preferred Ryan Gosling? Certainly Esquire dubbing Minka Kelly the "sexiest woman alive" didn't do much for her career.

 I love that "husband" is bestowed as his title on the cover, next to "astronaut," as a badge of honor — with the implication that being a support in a relationship is as important as being the one supported. 

And yet putting Mark Kelly on the cover of Esquire and calling him the "American of the Year" warms a little place in my heart.

It's not just because Kelly is from Houston. It's not just because he's a decorated Navy veteran in a time when it's easy to forget that many Americans are still fighting in wars abroad. And it's not just because he's an astronaut, the rock star of the science world, at a time science is underrated and the space program is getting hit with serious cutbacks.

In the past year, Kelly was thrust into the spotlight along with his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, when she was shot in the head and survived. As Esquire's Chris Jones put it, "If there was such a thing as just another astronaut, he was no longer it."

As anyone who watched Kelly and Giffords on 20/20 could see, Kelly is a key factor in Giffords' recovery, both in his clear affection for her and in the way he pushes and inspires her. It's great to see a man applauded for his strength when that strength is defined not as how to have six-pack abs or the best car/job/whatever, but in how to overcome adversity through patience, grace and force of will.

I love that "husband" is bestowed as his title on the cover, next to "astronaut," as a badge of honor — the implication that being a support in a relationship is as important as being the one supported.

Not that I think this is a foreign concept to most of the men in America, it's just that pop culture seems more eager to portray marriage as a compromise, or a ball-and-chain instead of celebrating it as a force that can bring out the best in people.

It's just awesome. That's all.

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