News & Politics
The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine

October 30, 2020

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

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48 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s letter

Call it a tale of two systems. In authoritarian China, where the pandemic first emerged, the coronavirus is now a mere inconvenience. The disease has been almost entirely suppressed through a combination of strict lockdowns, face-mask mandates, and mass testing and contact tracing. As a result, China is going from strength to strength. Experts believe China will be the world’s only major economy to notch positive economic growth this year—the U.S. economy is predicted to shrink by about 4 percent—and for ordinary citizens there, life has largely returned to normal. During this month’s Golden Week holiday, more than 600 million Chinese hit the road to visit relatives and vacation resorts. Here in the democratic U.S., it’s a different story. With no national strategy in place to contain the virus, we’re…

5 min.
millions of voters casting early ballots

What happened With two weeks to go until Election Day, voters shattered records for early balloting this week, as passions stirred by Donald Trump’s divisive presidency sent Americans streaming to the polls. Some 42 million votes had already been cast by Tuesday, according to the U.S. Election Project—nearly a third the total number of votes cast in 2016. In states that offered a party breakdown of the early votes, registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 2 to 1. Voters in some states endured long lines; in Georgia, some waited as long as 11 hours on opening day. “I really wanted to make sure that my voice was heard,” said Everlean Rutherford, who stood in line for 10 hours in Marietta, Ga. “I want to see a change in this country.” Biden leads…

1 min.
only in america

Public schools in San Diego have instituted new “equitable grading practices,” with grades no longer affected by homework, tests, attendance, or other “factors that directly measure students’ knowledge.” District official Richard Barrera explained, “If we’re actually going to be an anti-racist school district, we have to confront practices like this.” An 18-year-old Utah woman was evicted from her apartment for having suicidal thoughts. The unnamed woman told The Salt Lake Tribune she has battled depression for two years, and recently confessed to her three roommates that she had considered self-harm. The roommates told building management, who pinned an eviction notice to the woman’s door, saying she had infringed on her roommates’ right to “quiet enjoyment of the property.” Judge blocks SNAP limits for unemployed A federal judge this week blocked a Trump administration…

4 min.
arrest or execution?

Olympia, Wash. Eyewitnesses said that federal agents never identified themselves before killing antifa activist Michael Reinoehl, raising questions about the death of the 48-year-old wanted for the killing of a pro-Trump Patriot Prayer rallygoer in Portland, Ore. Reinoehl had confessed to killing Aaron “Jay” Danielson in an interview with Vice News, but said he did it in self-defense. He was shot by U.S. marshals in Olympia; a gun was later found in his pocket. Four officers of the U.S. Marshals Service sprayed Reinoehl with 37 shots. This week, witnesses—including 21 of 22 people near the shooting who were interviewed by the The New York Times—told Oregon Public Radio and the Times that the agents gave Reinoehl no warning. “They just got out of the car and started shooting,” said Garrett Louis,…

2 min.
democracy: is too much of it dangerous?

Sen. Mike Lee just erected “the intellectual scaffolding” for minority rule, said Zack Beauchamp in Vox.com. In a series of tweets, the Utah Republican said America is “not a democracy” but a constitutional republic where elected delegates do the will of the people. “Rank democracy,” Lee tweeted, can thwart the pursuit of “liberty, peace, and prosperity” if the majority imposes its will on a minority. This is not a new argument: Conservatives have warned against the “tyranny of the majority” since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt enacted a “redistributive agenda” in the 1930s, and they resurrected the argument when Democrats enacted civil rights legislation in the 1960s. This time, Lee can see President Trump and Republicans headed for a big Election Day defeat, so he’s making the preemptive argument that for…

1 min.
wit & wisdom

“We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” Carl Sagan, quoted in The New York Times “In France, if we wish to drain the swamps, we do not consult the frogs.” French Sen. Michel Delebarre, quoted in The Times (U.K.) “Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills.” Writer Minna Antrim, quoted in the Montreal Gazette “Despotism corrupts the person who submits to it far more than the person who imposes it.”Alexis de Tocqueville, quoted in The Washington Post “Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood, quoted in Medium.com “There are two kinds of light—the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.”Cartoonist James Thurber, quoted in ArtsJournal.com “Well, you live and learn.…