Time blows it with Persons of the Year choice
There was a better choice than Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
2020 has been an eventful year. That means there were a lot of good candidates for Time’s Person of the Year award. Ultimately, the magazine chose President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris. This was an uninspired choice for a year in which the headlines never seemed to stop breaking.
Admittedly, Harris is a groundbreaking figure because she is about to become America’s first female Vice President, but the key words are “about to.” Both Biden and Harris have not had the opportunity to actually do anything significant beyond winning the election.
So, who would have been a better choice? President Trump?
That’s a possibility. Bestowing the title of Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) on someone isn’t necessarily an endorsement. Time says that the designation is for a person who “for better or for worse... has done the most to influence the events of the year.” Donald Trump certainly qualifies on that score.
Without putting Trump in the category of any of these despots, it’s fair to point out that Time has selected, at various times, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Nikita Krushchev, and the Ayatollah Khomeini as Men of the Year. The editors of Time don’t have to be fans of someone to pick them as The One (or Ones). These folks were not role models, but they had a significant impact on the world around them.
But there is someone who made an even bigger impact on the world this year than President Trump. In my opinion, Time should have honored an entire category of people as they did in 2002 (The Whistleblowers), 2003 (The American Soldier), and 2005 (The Good Samaritans).
The best choice for Persons of the Year in 2020 was clearly The Healthcare Worker.
In a year of global pandemic in which more than 1.6 million people have died from COVID-19, healthcare workers who put their lives on the line working long shifts, day in and day out, have earned the recognition and appreciation of the world. Many healthcare workers have joined the list of Coronavirus casualties as they cared for the infected.
Frontline doctors and nurses are the obvious face of the healthcare industry, but the war against Coronavirus has employed many others as well. Hospitals can’t function without custodians, clerical workers, and food service specialists among others. All of these people also work long shifts and face exposure to the virus. The spread of the virus could not be tracked without the people who administer tests, often outside in blistering heat or freezing cold.
The war against our microscopic enemy will ultimately be won by medical researchers who have spent the last year developing vaccines. Many lives have been saved indirectly by the workers who manufacture ventilators and produce medicine.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris may be deserving of a Person of the Year award in the future, but the people who have fought the virus and saved countless lives over the past year are deserving of recognition and honor right now.
Time blew it.
Photo credit: Jakayla Toney/unsplash.com
I believed Time would hold true to the cover's mission and Trump was a sure win. Choosing the healthcare workers would have stayed the course of the cover's mission and conveyed moralistic empathy, the thing that's seems to be missing the most from the year 2020.
I read somewhere that an incoming president always wins. I will admit I don't care enough about this to check that statement but you are right, this seems like a really big missed opportunity.