Presumptive President and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Time magazine’s unsurprising choices for “Persons of the Year.”
Time magazine is of course a shadow of its former self. But the magazine’s Person of the Year, one of the few times the magazine receives attention nowadays, is always a festival of virtue signaling and thus quite fun to read.
Last year’s winner was Greta Thunberg, Sweden’s teen climate activist, who is so perpetually disappointed by her elders.
If the choice of Biden and Harris this year is unsurprising, so is the text that accompanies the choice, written (as it was last year) by Charlotte Alter. Here is a cloying passage:
As Biden sees it, trusting his instincts and tuning out the naysayers is a big reason why he’s going to be the next Commander in Chief. They said he was too old, too unsteady, too boring. That his pledge to restore the “soul of the nation” felt like antiquated hokum at a moment when Hurricane Trump was tearing through America, ripping through institutions, chewing up norms and spitting them out. “I got widely criticized,” Biden recalls, for “saying that we had to not greet Trump with a clenched fist but with more of an open hand. That we weren’t going to respond to hate with hate.”
To him, it wasn’t about fighting Trump with righteous vengeance, or probing any deeper rot that might have contributed to his ascent. Biden believed most voters simply wanted reconciliation after four years of combat, that they craved decency, dignity, experience and competence. “What I got most criticized for was, I said we had to unite America,” he says. “I never came off that message.”
Who or what is this “deeper rot” to which Alter refers? We have a pretty good idea: Trump supporters.
What about Biden’s courageous call for reconciliation? He says he “never came off that message” but some of his Cabinet picks hint at anything but reconciliation. Biden’s surest instinct might have been to remain in the basement rather than campaign for the presidency.
Please, I want to meet the people who responded positively to Biden’s alleged call not to “meet hate with hate.” It certainly wasn’t the “mostly peaceful” rioters who destroyed American cities. Trump is colorful and sometimes over the top, but his rallies were upbeat and not about hate; the riots were about rage and hatred.
Also predictable, the Time text is insulting to the current President. (Talk about reconciliation!) Here he is compared to a grotesque mythical beast that terrified the ancient world:
Defeating the Minotaur was one thing; finding the way out of the labyrinth is another. A dark winter has descended, and there will be no rest for the victors. Trump is waging information warfare against his own people, the first President in history to openly subvert the peaceful transfer of power. The country has reached a grim new milestone: more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in one day. Millions of children are falling behind in their education; millions of parents are out of work. There is not only a COVID-19 crisis and an economic crisis to solve, but also “a long overdue reckoning on racial injustice and a climate crisis,” Harris says. “We have to be able to multitask.”
Biden and Harris will be left with a vaccine produced in record speed (which they will claim as their own, never mind Harris’ having sewn doubt about its safety).
Millions of people are out of work, and millions of children have lost valuable time from school. Will the teachers unions, key allies of the Biden-Harris coalition, allow the country to rectify this at long last? Will the party of “dark winter” be willing to let people go back to work, or at least now begin to bolster the stay-at-home orders with scientific data?
Time did not disappoint. It provided a nice summary of ruling class cliches.