Friday, December 11, 2020 4:35 pm
By Nehru Odeh
Time magazine has named President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden and Vice President- elect, Kamala Harris, 2020 person of the year.
However, the unique thing about this award is that this is the first time a Vice President has been named as a person of the year.
Still, this indeed is not coming as a surprise, as the annual recognition is awarded to “the individual or group of people who affected the news or our lives the most, for better or worse. Indeed no individual or group of people have affected the American people in recent times other than Biden and Harris who were elected in November.
Making the announcement on Thursday in a video, Time’s editor-in-chief, Edward Felsenthal, said Biden and Harris deserved the honour for “changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world.
“Every elected President since FDR has at some point during his term been a Person of the Year, nearly a dozen of those in a presidential election year. This is the first time we have included a Vice President,” Felsenthal said.
“The Biden-Harris ticket represents something historic,” Time tweeted alongside a video of the announcement. “Person of the Year is not just about the year that was, but about where we’re headed.”
Their ticket is indeed historic, as not only has it united the American people even in the face of palpable divisions that the incumbent President Donald Trump represents, their victory has given Americans a ray of hope. Just as Felsenthal said in that video:
“It is noteworthy that a year after selecting climate activist Greta Thunberg, the youngest person ever named Person of the Year, we move to one of the oldest in the 78-year-old President-elect. Biden calls himself a bridge to a new generation of leaders, a role he embraced in choosing Kamala Harris, 56, the first woman on a winning presidential ticket, daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother.
“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. “I will be the first, but I will not be the last,” Harris told TIME. “And that’s about legacy, that’s about creating a pathway, that’s about leaving the door more open than it was when you walked in.
“The next four years are going to be an enormous test of them and all of us to see whether they can bring about the unity they’ve promised.
“Biden and Harris share a faith that empathetic governance can restore the solidarity we’ve lost,” Time Magazine wrote in its tribute to the winners. “… All new Presidents inherit messes from their predecessors, but Biden is the first to have to think about literally decontaminating the White House. Combatting the pandemic is only the start of the challenge, at home and abroad. There are alliances to rebuild, a stimulus package to pass, a government to staff.”
Desperate times, they say, call for desperate measures. The United States is in desperate times, what with Trump’s stubborn refusal to concede defeat based on electoral fraud allegations and the onslaught of the novel coronavirus that has broken the once vibrant American spirit. And at no time have the American people been more divided than now. .
“This will be the test of the next four years: Americans who haven’t been this divided in more than a century elected two leaders who have bet their success on finding common ground. The odds may be long. But it will be among the most critical chapters in the arduous quest for a more perfect union,” Felsenthal said.
And Biden and Harris are expected to heal wounds and restore the much-needed hope to the American people.
Other four finalists in the running for the award were Trump and two broader categories: the movement for racial justice, and frontline healthcare workers and Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious diseases scientist. Trump has been on the shortlist every year since he won the 2016 election.
However, this honour bestowed on Biden has made him join the ranks of Obama and Trump, who were named as persons of the year in 2012 and 2016 respectively.