By Mike Hembury — SOAPBOX

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Take a deep breath, America.

You made it by the skin of your teeth.

All that gut-wrenching worry. All the fears about a potential coup. All Trump’s challenges to the legitimacy of the electoral process, all the court cases, all the hate-mongering. So far it’s come to nothing.

So breathe a sigh of relief, and take a moment to celebrate, and enjoy the sight of the worst president in the history of the USA being forced to leave the White House.

Just don’t get too worked up about the resilience of US democracy, because not only is it seriously compromised in lots of ways, but the challenges to it also look set to get worse. …


By Mike Hembury — SOAPBOX

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As 2020 slouches fitfully from Halloween to the US presidential election, I think it’s safe to say that there are a bunch of pretty scary scenarios lined up for us. Us being the planet’s inhabitants-at-large, but more specifically those who live in the good old US of A.

Cue the grisly sounds emanating from the White House, along with the mad ghoulish cackle of Il Douchebag himself.

“The fools, the fools!” he is heard to say. “They think they can take the presidency away from me. But it’s mine you hear me, all mine!”

Exit Trump stage right, bearing a grudge. …


By Maria Behan — SPOTLIGHT

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Donald Trump began his presidency by lying about the size of his inauguration crowd. He’s finishing it (I hope) by lying about the pandemic that has left America with the highest number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the world.

Trump’s improbable ascent to power in 2016 may have been difficult to predict, but once the Electoral College shoehorned him into America’s highest office, it was easier to foresee that his tenure there would escalate from farce to tragedy. …


By Ryan M. Moser — FROM THE INSIDE

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you stare at the same spot on the wall for an hour, then you’re probably bored or daydreaming. If you intermittently stare at that same spot on the wall for 120 days in a row, you’ve probably lost your mind.

I don’t regret receiving a discipline report (DR) that cool winter day in 2006. In fact, given the opportunity, I’d do it all over again. I was serving time in state prison for theft, and on my way to “the hole” for fighting: sixty days in solitary confinement for assaulting another inmate, and sixty days for lying about it (which I didn’t, but I’ll get to trumped-up charges). I’m not violent by nature, nor do I bully men, but after overhearing a pedophile brag about dating his twelve-year-old stepdaughter, I couldn’t remain silent. …


By Irena Ioannou — GAZE

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Witch hunts, for some, sound like an amusing, albeit creepy, fairytale. Fairytales, though, have a way of persisting and imitating life. Or, turning the argument around, life and history tend to repeat themselves and feed the fairytales.

In the north-eastern part of Sweden, in the Torsaker parish, for instance, in 1675, the biggest mass murder in the history of the country, in peace time, took place. Seventy-one people convicted of witchcraft received their last communion before they were forced to walk the path up to Häxberget (Witch mountain) where they were beheaded and burned in three large fires. Three hundred years later, a memorial stone was erected at the execution site. The inscription on the stone translates to: ‘ In 1675 witches’ pyres burnt here. Women died, men passed judgment. The faith of time overtakes man.’ …


By Tim Clark — HEAD ABOVE WATER

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“Travel works best when you’re forced to come to terms with the place you’re in” — Paul Theroux

Turmoil and doubt have become our vacation consultants. The present is filled with risks, and the future is twisted and seems distant and uncertain. We decided to go back in time, back to the Old Country, family life in Nebraska.

Traveling in October makes everything seem a little strange. Farm equipment, looking monstrous and alien chews through tall fields of brown, dry corn. The machines kick up huge clouds of dust making the process look secretive and fiendish. Left behind are nothing but stubble and broken stalks, a razed landscape. It’s easy to imagine it more as act of destruction than a harvest. …


By Annie Mark-Westfall — LETTERS FROM BERLIN

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The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has arrived in Berlin with the autumn rain. My existence here feels more and more like living in a bubble; my experience as an expatriate floating between cultures, amplified by social distancing and the lockdowns that punctuate 2020. My children’s daycare is currently closed again, due to a confirmed Covid case. I steal moments between work and childcare, trying to form a narrative to make sense of the world; my world.

My Facebook feed is full of memories from this time last year. Photos of my Grandma Bea, who is 101 years old and still lives on her own in the house where she has been for the past six decades. …


By Maria Behan — SPOTLIGHT

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Image by Morgan Shidler

Things are looking bleak — for the world in general, and particularly for the United States. Coronavirus continues to surge. Climate change is wreaking havoc up and down both coasts, and a fair bit in the center of the country, too. And as we close in on the critical November 3rd election, Donald Trump is giving America’s teetering democracy some very hard shoves.

When it comes to the coronavirus, I hate to say I told you so, but I did back in March. Thanks to the Trump administration’s shambolic mismanagement of the public-health crisis, America continues to lead the world in confirmed deaths and infections. The U.S. …


By Mike Hembury — SOAPBOX

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As the USA careens towards the foreseeable train wreck of the coming elections, and the world rushes headlong into the apocalyptic calamity of incipient climate breakdown, there are a couple of things I don’t want to talk about.

I don’t want to talk about America’s descent into fascism. It’s not a fait accompli yet, but it’s perilously close.

I don’t want to talk about how climate collapse is starting to kick in with multiple, synchronous disasters feeding on each other: the fires in the USA, the Amazon, the Pantanal Wetlands, the collapse of ice shelves in the northern and southern hemispheres, an Atlantic so full of hurricanes that the authorities have run out of names, the Gulf Stream in danger of running out of steam, a precipitous decline in wildlife throughout the globe, the disappearance of wild areas the size of Mexico in the past 13 years alone. …


By Ryan M. Moser — FROM THE INSIDE

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The sound of comfort is a Pratt and Whitney engine on a Southwest 747, its turbine spinning in the sheer wind at 1,500 feet as the airplane descends into Miami International Airport after a layover in LAX from Seoul, Korea. …

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The Wild Word magazine

Arts/culture/politics online magazine www.thewildword.com

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