The publication pays tribute for the first time in its history to a White House “number two.”
WASHINGTON D.C. – Time magazine has chosen President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the characters of 2020. The editors of the publication defended the political duo’s choice because of how their historic victory occurred last November: Biden is the candidate with the most votes in a U.S. presidential race (81.2 million), and Harris is the first woman to become vice president. She is also the first number two to be named the magazine’s Person of the Year.
“For changing American history, for showing that the strength of empathy is greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing a grieving world, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Time’s 2020 Person of the Year,” wrote magazine editor Edward Felsenthal.
The shortlist of those who disputed the honor of appearing on the magazine’s cover consisted of Donald Trump, the racial justice movement unleashed by the death of African-American George Floyd, public health workers, and American doctor Anthony Fauci. The latter and some anti-racial injustice activists were named “Guardians of the Year,” but the time finally chose the next world power leaders for its December cover. “The magazine has always had a special relationship with presidents,” the editors explained.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are TIME's 2020 Person of the Year #TIMEPOY https://t.co/o97QNlSBrl pic.twitter.com/KuoBoebBN4— TIME (@TIME) December 11, 2020
With Biden and Harris’s appointment and not just one individual, the magazine is making what was once an exception a rule. Of the last ten persons, half have been collective. Barack Obama was the Person of the year 2008 and 2012, and Trump in 2016. In the thank-you interview, President-elect Biden talked about the task he will have with Harris to “heal” democracy after Trump’s passage through the White House.
The editors explained in a special program broadcast by NBC that they considered the duo’s role this year and the work they will have in the future. The magazine said: “Together, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling: after the highest turnout in a century, they racked up 81 million votes and counting, the most in presidential history, topping Trump by some 7 million votes and flipping five battleground states.”
Many expected the magazine to choose the health workers in 2014, the U.S. magazine named “the Ebola fighters” as its character of the year. By the time it honored them, Africa’s concentrated outbreak had resulted in just over 6,000 deaths.
This Wednesday alone, the coronavirus killed 12,346 people. The total figure is more than 1.5 million, and the cases amount to more than 70 million. At the beginning of the crisis, citizens from different parts of the world went out to their balconies to applaud the first line, and although these images are no longer seen, health personnel have not stopped risking their lives to save those infected.
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