US President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris were named Time magazine’s 2020 Person of the Year on Thursday (December 10).
This is the first time a vice-president has been named. The duo was chosen for “the American story, showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division and sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world.”
The cover of the magazine has Biden’s and Harris’ portraits with ‘Changing America’s story’ written. “Together, they offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling,” Time said.
Biden and Harris were chosen over other finalists, including frontline health care workers; director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci; the Movement for Racial Justice; and former US President Donald Trump.
Biden won a landslide victory of 306 electoral college votes over Trump’s 232, thus putting an end to Trump’s one-term Presidency. However, Trump has not yet conceded, claiming electoral fraud of which there is no proof.
Citing Biden’s victory, Time magazine wrote: “If Donald Trump was a force for disruption and division over the past four years, Biden and Harris show where the nation is heading: a blend of ethnicities, lived experiences and worldviews that must find a way forward together if the American experiment is to survive.”
It added: “Biden and Harris had to revive the party’s fading strength with white voters without college degrees; energize its emerging base of diverse, urban young voters; and motivate the hordes of angry suburbanites, particularly college graduates and women, who had fled the Trump-era GOP.”
The other finalists — workers on the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic, including doctors, nurses and grocery store employees — were chosen by a readers’ poll of who should be named the ‘Person of the Year’.
Time said that the other finalists fought on many fronts in 2020. “On the front line against COVID-19, the world’s health care workers displayed the best of humanity selflessness, compassion, stamina, courage while protecting as much of it as they could. By risking their lives every day for the strangers who arrived at their workplace, they made conspicuous a foundational principle of both medicine and democracy: equality. By their example, health care workers this year guarded more than lives.”
On Dr Fauci, Time said he not only led the battle against COVID but also the “fight for truth — clear, consistent messaging being fundamental to public health.” With steadfast integrity, Fauci nudged and corrected a President used to operating in a reality of his own construction, buoyed by the fervent repetition of lies, it said.
On the racial justice organisers, the publication, said: “Guardians put themselves on the line to defend the ideals sacred to democracy. In 2020, they fought on many fronts. When George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in May, it was proof, if anyone needed it, that Black lives are still not treated as equal in America.”
Following Floyd’s death, the publication said, “A wave of outrage surged and was harnessed by organisers, both veteran and newly energised, to bring millions to the streets and spotlight the inequities in a world that claims to be far better than it is. The movement for racial justice found its voice in multitudes: a mother in Kenosha delivering her frank report to Joe Biden; a sister in Paris calling for police accountability in her brothers death. In this extraordinary year, they guarded truth lived truth.”
CEO of conferencing platform Zoom, Eric Yuan, has been named as Time‘s ‘Businessperson of the Year’. South Korean boy band BTS was named ‘Entertainer of the Year’, and American basketball player LeBron James as ‘Athlete of the Year’.
Time magazine has been naming Person of The Year since 1927.
(With inputs from agencies)