Because, after this long national nightmare, we wanted to do something completely different, this week’s Backtalk begins with a poem submitted by Matt Valades of Pittsboro, who placed second in the INDY‘s poetry contest in 2011, called “Ballad of the Vanquished Donald.” (A note about the logistics of running a weekly newspaper: we went to press hours before Tuesday’s races were called. So it’s possible that Donald was not in fact vanquished; but as Valades notes, “If somehow he does win, we will all have bigger problems than this poem.”) Here goes:

Of he who would be King, the Donald,

son of Fred, a saga unspooled.

Recall, recall the waving weeds

that brush against the grave.

Donald who carries a shield of tin

and wears a suit of skulls,

whose mind can bend like mannequins,

orange and on display,

and does not know but sees quite well,

turning toward the crowds,

their eager pain. Pressed to glass,

the grin smears away.

Sorcerer of disaster, you thought

you knew us all too well.

Let only the jungle judge, for I

just whisper it is so.

Hovered above the city, you see

it’s one blinking circuit,

switch to switch, that cornered empire

of fried and frozen, nothing

there to smell. As tragic levity

raises your helicopter

in bad air, the Chinese steel

cannot equal your spine

and that weight is just too much to bear.

Your shirt of hair was so widely

passed around, so wearily worn,

but now we take you off.

Of he who would be King, the Donald,

son of Fred, a saga unspooled.

Recall, recall the waving weeds

that brush against the grave.

On, commenter Montag takes issue with Paul Blest’s essay last week on why millennials shouldn’t bother voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson [“The Spoiler,” November 2].

“Mr. Blest’s article,” Montag writes, “is just another in a long line of logically strained, contradictory, and ultimately failed attempts I’ve heard over the years to argue against and discredit libertarians and the libertarian philosophy. One of the great ironies of our current political environment is that, for all of their differences, the left and the right can come together on one thing; their fear and loathing of libertarians. They have good reason to be afraid. Be very afraid. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but eventually millennials and the younger generations after them are going to tire of this business-as-usual that the author (and other ‘progressives’ and conservatives) implicitly support in his article.”

“Millennials,” writes commenter tkraw23, “1) Are tired of an interventionist foreign policy. 2) Believe the Drug War is idiotic and unwinnable, and that locking up mass numbers of people of color for nonviolent crimes is a terrible idea that has been long championed by your Democratic nominee. 3) Remember that the Democratic Party was explicitly homophobic just twenty years ago. Look at the president who signed it into law.

“Some remember this track record of establishment Democrats. That is why so many young people have fled to Mr. Johnson. In various polls of millennials, he has been tied with Hillary, which is why the Clinton machine has spent so much effort discrediting him with the goal of getting millennials back in line. The thing about millennials, they don’t like to be told what to do. This is a real problem for the Democrats.”

By the time this paper hits the streets, we’ll know whether that assessment is correct.

Finally, a correction: due to an editing error, last week’s story on congressional candidate Thomas Mills incorrectly stated that the Eighth Congressional District includes Wadesboro. Following the court-ordered congressional redistricting, that is no longer the case. We also misstated the counties in the Eighth; they are Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly, Montgomery, Hoke, and Cumberland.

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