As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed to the public as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
This Time cover, depicting Jimmy Carter as a western sheriff about to have a showdown with an unseen outlaw, was a distillation of the hapless situation that Carter confronted in the spring of 1980. Two of the most pressing concerns of the moment were the fifty Americans being held hostage by Muslim fundamentalists in Iran and the Soviet Union's armed interference in Afghanistan. To force the release of the hostages and make the Soviets back off from attempting to bring the Afghans under their influence, Carter wanted to take strong retaliatory measures. But in order to give those measures teeth, he needed the backing of America's allies, and that support was not strong. Thus, Carter may indeed have been feeling like this holstered caricature of himself, marching to meet his foe, while his neighbors, who stand to benefit from his bravery, scurry off in search of refuge.