Museum of America in the Pandemic Year, 2020

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Aug 27: Coronavirus cases spike in the Midwest. Paul Alexander disagrees with Dr. Fauci’s press officers about the importance of children and university students getting tests “in a widespread manner.”  In  emails obtained by Politico, Alexander critiques a pre-planned statement by Dr. Fauci. Alexander writes, “I continue to have an issue with kids getting tested and repeatedly and even university students in a widespread manner…and I disagree with Dr. Fauci on this. Vehemently.” 

Aug 28: A 25-year-old man from Nevada became reinfected with COVID-19 in late May after recovering from a mild case in April, reports say. It marks the first reported case of reinfection in the United States; the second occurrence resulted in a much more severe case, requiring hospitalization and oxygen. A full study of the case is published in Lancet Infectious Disease Journal in October.

Aug 29: The Kenosha police release a report saying that Jacob Blake had a knife and resisted arrest before police officers shot him in front of his children. Protests and marches continue. At a New Hampshire rally, Trump says that protesters demonstrating against police brutality are  “thugs” and “anarchists” who are just “looking for trouble” and “don’t even know who George Floyd is.”

From the Cutting Room Floor ...

The news reports that New Hampshire Republicans have been sending out applications for absentee ballots with invalid return addresses to older registered Democrats who were likely to vote absentee to avoid exposure to coronavirus.[1] Some of those elderly people were living in cities as far away as Pittsburgh, which is a battleground state for the election.[2] Did they attempt to manufacture fraud by “mistakenly” sending ballots to Democrats in other states, hoping they would remit them honestly, thereby both eliminating their vote from their own state and casting doubt on ballots in their own states?[3] One can only hope that the mistaken addresses were caused by unintended human error, and not such complex chicanery.

At the same time, there is astonishing evidence all around us that people are finding ways to stay engaged in the political process.

In June, LeBron James and a number of other Black athletes and artists launched “More Than a Vote.” James went to Obama, and they successfully got NBA arenas to agree to be voting sites.[4] They have been pushing the NBA’s mostly white management to begin to make decisions that benefit the communities from which most of their Black laborers come, and they have been able to wrest some commitment of funds out of the owners.[5] Clearly, this election will determine how we understand this year and its larger significance. With so much loss and sacrifice, it seems sure that we cannot go back to where we were in 2019.




[1] Nancy West, “New NH GOP Absentee Ballot Mailers, Town Clerk Ballot Cause More Voting Confusion,”, August 22, 2020,

[2] Sam Levine, “Trump Campaign Fails to Show Evidence of Vote-by-Mail Fraud, Filing Reveals,” The Guardian, August 21, 2020, sec. US news,

[3] Frances Langum, “Why Is The New Hampshire GOP Sending Absentee Ballot Applications To Pittsburgh?,” Crooks and Liars, August 25, 2020,

[4] Sopan Deb, “N.B.A. and Players’ Union Agree to Resume Play,” The New York Times, August 28, 2020, sec. Sports, Zucker, “LeBron James’ ‘More Than a Vote’ Pushing NBA Arenas as ‘Mega’ Polling Sites,” Bleacher Report, July 1, 2020,

[5] Eric Pincus, “Why NBA Owners’ $300M Pledge Isn’t Enough for Players’ Fight Against Racism,” Bleacher Report, August 29, 2020,

Read more

Lana Zak and Peniel Joseph, “Thousands turn out for 57th anniversary of the March on Washington,” CBS News, August 28, 2020,

“Thousands Join March On Washington,” HuffPost streaming, August 28, 2020,

Warning: This video of a Walmart customer refusing to comply with a mask mandate and yelling at employees and bystanders contains cursing and violent language. kellenbrent. Anti-Mask Boomer Has a Public Freakout on a Walmart Employee and Bystanders, 2020.


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Frum, David. “The Platform the GOP Is Too Scared to Publish.” The Atlantic, August 25, 2020.
Glasser, Susan B. “The Malign Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Convention.” The New Yorker, August 28, 2020.
Pincus, Eric. “Why NBA Owners’ $300M Pledge Isn’t Enough for Players’ Fight Against Racism.” Bleacher Report, August 29, 2020.
Johnson, Jenna. “The Latest Battlefield in a Heated Presidential Campaign: Front Yards Bearing Biden Signs.” Washington Post, August 29, 2020.
Firestein, Stuart. “How Pseudoscientists Get Away With It.” Nautilus, August 28, 2020.
Pokhrel, Pravin, Changpeng Hu, and Hanbin Mao. “Detecting the Coronavirus (COVID-19).” ACS Sensors 5, no. 8 (August 28, 2020): 2283–96.
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