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The 'Unfashionable' Matt Damon, Mensch of the Year

Damon breaks out of Hollywood and into serious activism, earning the respect of hard-working activists and progressive leaders alike.

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But despite being a "third" party in what’s generally thought of as a two-party game, the Working Families Party has had some impressive successes in just the past year. In New York, WFP led the effort for a landmark Green Jobs initiative that will put tens of thousands of people to work retrofitting homes for energy efficiency – and saving homeowners on their utility bills in the process. In Connecticut, WFP won the nation’s first statewide law guaranteeing paid sick days for low-wage service workers. And in Oregon, WFP has put together an impressive coalition of small business, community bankers, family farmers and homeowners to limit Wall Street’s power over the local economy and make credit more available to Oregonians. All sensible, creative initiatives

But all that takes work -- and it’s hard to be fashionable doing the kind of shoe-leather neighbor-to-neighbor political organizing that WFP specializes in. You probably have to wear comfortable sneakers, not high-end dress shoes. And you probably want a solid coat in the winter, not the $9,000 Chanel sequined tweed coat the  New York Times says luxury retailers are having trouble keeping on the shelves.

So obviously the fancy goods are not what pundits mean when they call WFP or other progressive organizations “unfashionable,” or by implication superstar Matt Damon, who is not spending his spare time at fancy parties. What they mean is, they have the gall to stand up and fight for ordinary people.

So it's probably true that Michael Moore's idea of Matt Damon running for president is a bit farfetched at this point. Maybe down the road, although some suggest that Damon's "partner in crime," fellow progressive Ben Affleck, is the more likely pol. Let's just symbolically nominate Matt Damon for "Mensch of the Year," and leave it at that.

We are all thankful for the work Damon has done for good causes, creatively fighting the worldwide water shortage, fighting for teachers and public education, and stumping for the "unfashionable" Working Families Party. My bet is he will win big.

Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.