USA

Analysis: The year 2020 is defined by lines

Tom Petty's famous tune — the one with the chorus, "The waiting is the hardest part" — is rattling around in my head while we all await the election results, which are still more than a week away. The long lines at early voting locations reveal that many Americans just want this campaign season to be over. But there's also more to it: The dastardly year of 2020 has been defined in no small part by lines. This photo by Bing Guan, for Reuters, showed people "waiting in their vehicles for COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru testing site" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

I remember the lines in March outside Whole Foods and CVS. People queued up to buy groceries and medicines. There were lines to enter the bank and lines to enter the coffee shop. Some of this belongs in the past tense, but other examples are still in the present tense: I line up with my 3 year old to get her temperature checked outside her preschool. Just the other day I marveled at the line outside Trader Joe's.

Think about it -- lines are a part of almost every 2020 story. Lines of families waiting for essentials at drive-up food banks across the country. Lines of police officers blocking protesters during Black Lives Matter protests. Lines of Trump supporters in MAGA caravans driving through cities. Lines of possibly sick individuals waiting for Covid-19 tests. Lines and lines of voters waiting for a turn to weigh in on all of this.

I wrote this for one reason: To say thank you to the photojournalists and videographers and drone operators and citizens with cameraphones who are showing us these lines.

Fox's quarantine

Fox News president Jay Wallace and "several of the network's top anchors," including Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, "have been advised to quarantine after being exposed to someone on a private flight who later tested positive for the coronavirus," the NYT's Jeremy W. Peters reported Sunday night. The group flew back from the debate in Nashville last Thursday. Dana Perino and Juan Williams were also on board the flight. The Fox stars who were affected "are expected to host their shows from home for the time being..."

>> Fox is not confirming the report or commenting on it, citing the confidentiality of employee health records...

Back to basics between now and Nov. 3

>> Educator Michelle Ciulla Lipkin: "Be on high alert" for misinfo and disinfo. "In 2016, we were surprised. In 2020, we need to be prepared..."

>> Columnist John Harris: "Cover election security and election access like it's the biggest story of our professional lives."

>> Analyst Kirsten Powers: "Stick to the basics" and "don't try to predict the outcome."

>> Comedian Larry Wilmore: "Just show us" democracy in action, including the long lines at voting sites. Americans "want the process to work even though they are being told it's broken."

>> And one more point from Harris: "People take this seriously, and we should show the same seriousness that the voters are showing."

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