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CATCHING UP

HE VOTED TRUMP, ALAS

Sorry for having been away. The world's tumult continues. Notably, and for the better, Macron beat Le Pen in France; the tide of hate was briefly halted. In America, Trump edged closer to Full Nixon, with this throttling of the very tall FBI director, and odd references to taped conversations.

Nixon, as an aside, had a drink problem, mental health issues, BUT - and this is a big but - for all his errors and personality problems, and troubling ambition, and disrespect for the law of the land - was an educated legal mind, with a strong sense of right and wrong, a keen intellect, and a very clear economic and foreign policy objective - to defeat Communism. That Nixon fell well below his ideals and values is his personal and political tragedy and legacy.

Disastrously for America now, and the world, Trump appears to have no moral compass, no worldview worth speaking of, no intellectual capacity - just the ambition, personality disorder, and lack of respect for the law of the land. He is, if you will, Richard III to Nixon's Julius Caesar. Both presidents, and men, are deeply flawed; one was a political monster (Nixon) - the other is an evil man edging towards becoming a despot.

In the UK, the right-wing media agenda is to argue that Labour's election manifesto is left of Stalin; it is not. In Canada, it would be viewed as normal mixed-economy socialism, of the kind the NDP adopts. Wanting free tuition for students, a well-run postal and rail service, lower energy bills, and more fairness in terms of pay, is hardly suicidal or insane. But that is how they destroy you in the UK - they ignore you, and if they cannot make you invisible, they make fun of you, or cast you as beyond the pale.

Labour's Corbyn is a weak leader, a dithering leader, and an oddly vain man; but he is not evil, or stupid. He is stubborn, and he is an idealist. This is a flaw, but it is not inherently wrong. Sadly, he lacks the charisma to elevate his Sanders-like arguments above the fray. Many of his hopes for the UK would be welcome by a majority. But he has let us all down badly by being vague on Trident, Brexit, and, indeed immigration. His moral compass works best when it tacks closest to communist, not socialist, ideologies, and that is not the majority-commanding way forward. Moderation is best, and his is an immoderate plan for Britain, in the end.  Too extreme, and too punishing of those different than himself.

No less immoderate is the Lemming-like PM May, who would throw the nation(s) off the cliff just to follow a bizarrely rigid definition of Brexit. You would think that the Brexit referendum had become the new Magna Carta or Constitution, so fanatically is it now defended as the main defining instrument of the land. In her own way, Theresa May is as revolutionary as Trump or Macron - for she seeks to be swept to power on a tide of support, to seek curiously personal, rigid, and even over-determined ends.

A few years ago, to suggest that Canada, France, Britain and the USA - the four strongest allied winners of World War 2 - would each have unexpectedly divisive, new or unusual leaders, voted in on large mandates - each following their own agendas, might have been surprising. But Trudeau and Macron are admirable, so far; May and Trump, much less so.

Corybyn might just win this election, but that is far from likely at this point. Brexit looks likely, and an impeachment looms in the US. In the end, it is The Donald who will usher in the 70s again, not The Jeremy...

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Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!