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The Nation

The Nation January 11-18, 2021

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The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and is independently published. The Nation speaks to an engaged audience as a champion of civil liberties, human rights, and economic justice. The Nation breaks down critical issues with lively editorials, in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, as well as award-winning arts coverage. Publisher and Editor: Katrina vanden Heuvel.

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United States
The Nation, LP
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36 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
the fight ahead

JOE BIDEN WILL BE INAUGURATED AS AMERICA’S 46TH PRESIDENT ON JANUARY 20, after a year of turmoil. We are in the midst of the worst public health disaster in a century, with more than 300,000 dead from Covid-19 and tens of thousands more expected to succumb before mass vaccination can end the pandemic. The turbulence has been political, too, with a presidential election in which the losing candidate refused to accept the results—and, even more ominously, his repeated attempts to overturn those results were backed by an overwhelming majority of the Republican Party’s elected officials and voters. Clearly, Biden has his work cut out for him. He must take immediate action to get the pandemic under control and revive the economy, but unless both of the Democratic candidates in Georgia win their…

5 min.
our best shot

WITH THE NATIONAL COVID DEATH TOLL SURPASSING 300,000, the first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine left a facility in Kalamazoo, Mich., on December 13, kicking off an extraordinary effort to inoculate nearly all Americans against the coronavirus. The vaccination campaign faces enormous challenges: the need to keep Pfizer’s vaccine at –94 degrees Fahrenheit, for one. But the challenges are not only logistical. Serious ethical questions remain about who will be at the front of the line. The pandemic has magnified long-standing health inequities in the United States. Black, Indigenous, and Latino Americans have died of Covid-19 at a rate more than 2.7 times that of white Americans. Given this disproportionate toll, which was exacerbated by political leaders’ failure to ensure equitable access to testing and care, there’s an urgent need for public…

2 min.
post card

IF YOU BELIEVE THE RELENTLESS CHEERLEADING of the Murdoch press, Britain is in the final stages of a heroic drama that will finally see this island nation declare economic independence and stride boldly onto the global stage, its precious sovereignty regained. Freed from the fetters of the European Union, Britons will once again become shopkeepers to the world, negotiating on advantageous terms with trade partners from Tokyo to Toronto. Meanwhile, every day brings new developments in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit brinkmanship: a disastrous dinner with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, stern warnings from chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, brave posturing from Johnson over an “Australian-style deal”—which means crashing out without a deal. All very entertaining, but about as relevant as Trump’s musings on Covid-19 treatments. On December 31…

5 min.
justice long due

EARLY THIS DECEMBER, THE DEMOCRATIC-CONTROLLED House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would expunge low-level cannabis convictions, remove pot from the Controlled Substances Act, and impose a 5 percent tax on legal marijuana sales, directing some of that revenue into grants that help those the bill identifies as “adversely impacted” by racist drug prohibition laws take advantage of the legal pot marketplace. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that from 2021 to 2030, the law “would reduce time served by 73,000 person-years, among existing and future” federal inmates. It’s one significant (though imperfect) step toward undoing the “legacy of racial and ethnic injustices…of 80 years of cannabis prohibition enforcement,” according to the bill’s sponsors. And yet the legislation…

5 min.
focus on the fundamentals

I’VE BEEN WRITING A VERSION OF THIS COLUMN IN JUST about every other issue of The Nation for nearly 25 years. This will be my last. Obviously, much has changed since I began. There was no Fox News or MSNBC, and the “news” on the Internet barely justified the trouble it took to dial it up. But a few things have remained relatively constant, and so, too, have my attempts to explain them. The one thought I’d like to leave readers with is this: Remember the fundamentals—the things that inevitably get lost in the never-ending frenzy that defines our current media ecosystem. Many in the media have recently awoken to the myriad ways in which the Trump presidency has sought to murder our democracy. In truth, it was barely breathing when…

3 min.
q&a pankaj mishra

How might we explain to young people, who have witnessed the rise of strongmen and a world turned upside down by Covid-19, the liberal triumphalism of the 1990s and 2000s? Pankaj Mishra’s new collection of essays provides one provocative answer: Such triumphalism is akin to a religious creed, one that presumes that Western-style liberal democracy will be absorbed by the rest of the world, which will evolve toward it just as the Anglo-American sphere did. Mishra describes such liberals, borrowing from the Cold War realist thinker Reinhold Niebuhr, as “the bland fanatics of western civilization who regard the highly contingent achievements of our culture as the final form and norm of human existence.” Mishra’s new book, Bland Fanatics: Liberals, Race, and Empire, grapples with the history and legacy of this…