The Atlantic Daily: Making America Again

This spring laid bare the country’s faults. In the latest issue of our magazine, we look at where the U.S. can go from here.

Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.

October 2020 magazine cover
Oliver Munday

Our latest magazine features not just one cover story, but three. Together, they reflect on a nation’s failure to live up to its promises—and look to this moment as an opportunity to course-correct.

The package, titled “Making America Again” after a Langston Hughes poem, features the work of Atlantic staff writers Adam Serwer and George Packer, as well as that of the Harvard professor Danielle Allen. Read on for their reflections.

1. For the first time, America may have an anti-racist majority.

“History teaches that awakenings such as this one are rare,” Adam Serwer writes. “In these moments, great strides toward the unfulfilled promises of the founding are possible.”

2. America’s plastic hour is upon us.

The country is at a low point, George Packer says. But we might be on the cusp of an era of radical reform that repairs our broken democracy.

3. The Constitution counted my great-great-grandfather as three-fifths of a free person. Now the document is our responsibility.

“Those who wrote the version ratified centuries ago do not own the version we live by today,” Danielle Allen argues. “We do.”

Dibyangshu Sarkar/ AFP / Getty

One question, answered: Is it safe to pet a stranger’s dog during this pandemic? James Hamblin, staff writer and puppy owner, addressed this in his “Paging Dr. Hamblin” column:

Petting dogs does not seem to be a major public-health concern, but that doesn’t mean concerned individuals are being unreasonable. … For those who wish to pet a dog, the best etiquette is always requesting to pet the dog before doing it—which is what all of us should have been doing even before the pandemic. Don’t wantonly reach out and grope any dog that wanders by. If you feel really moved and in need—and especially if the dog also seems in need of attention—ask the human if you can say hi. And I mean truly ask. Too often, the request is a passing “How are you?” not meant to be answered, said in haste while already reaching for the dog.

Continue reading.

What to read if … you’re still processing the apocalyptic wildfire scenes from out West:

“I feel my throat tightening. It’s not the coronavirus or smoke. It’s rage,” Emma Marris writes from Oregon.

What to read if … you need a break from the news:

Big life changes—such as those the pandemic might be putting you through—don’t always have to be painful.

“Indeed,” Arthur C. Brooks writes in his latest column on happiness, “with a shift in mindset, we can make transitions into a source of meaning and transcendence.”

Did someone forward you this newsletter? Sign up here.