Today is the day a chosen few will voluntarily move to appoint a despot the leader of the free world. How we got here and what to do now.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

I find this past month that I vacillate between “Well, who knows what will happen, just have to keep moving.” And “Oh shit, time to move into a bunker.” If nearly everyone is feeling that way, it just can’t lead to good things.

The good news is Trump is on a flame-out trajectory which will make him the worst if not the shortest-tenured president in history. William Harrison holds the dubious honor of holding office for 32 days in 1841, but even a month and change as commander-in-chief seems like a lot of runway for Orange Julius with a coughed-up fur ball chaser to do permanent harm to an already damaged nation and planet.

He has proven himself unfit for the job in all manner any man could past the point of mockery. If this past month were a job interview for a fry cook at Dairy Queen, he would have spent the entirety of it spitting on to-go orders and throwing hot grease all over the customers. And yet, the manager still has to make a decision whether to hire him claiming there’s nobody else who will take the job. The best-case scenario is people will feel like the only choice they have in music over the course of his tenure in office is Limp Bizkit. The worst case is people will no longer walk the earth in that time span so any music may sound good by comparison.

He is likely guilty of treason. He is a serial rapist. He is so full of conflicts of interest it is difficult not to muse whether his conflicts of interest have conflicts of interest. But we have heard all the disqualifiers over and over and over and ignore them like a stack of Chinese restaurant menus tucked under the door.

I doubt he could pass a high school equivalency exam at this late age, much less any equivalent test for citizenship. Were he made to sit through an eighth grade civics lesson, he would tweet about how boring the Constitution is and how unfair checks and balances are and whether the mean teacher is a ten. His ignorance and his barely there literacy and grasp of events as they occur should render him harmless, though it is clear from his outlaw picks for the Trump cabinet (people he likely believes are his to put in an actual cabinet and play with when he gets bored) harmlessness is not on the agenda.

The question is not whether Trump—who has made a career of winning by losing, only this time on the world’s biggest stage—will be bad for the country or the world but how bad will he be and how much damage can this old hombre do during his given window. We are rapidly approaching a sixth extinction—the planet coughing up blood in quiet resignation as the hospice bed is rolled in. All the animals are starting to perish and all the oceans are dying. To combat it we sit here, with mere milliseconds in Earth time to do something about it and continue to cover our precious home’s surface with another layer of trash while we make up the guest room for crazy uncle to initiate a debate about fact.

Trump’s job may simply be to serve as an accelerant for the inevitable.

At the very least, he will burn out his adopted party and leave them in disarray and broken just like he has with everything else. His career and personal life is defined by having a reverse Midas Touch. Everything this deep-fried melon rind has come into contact with has wilted and crumbled. He gold-plated it after the fact to hide the rot. The bet, I guess, is that he only destroys his own party before he moves on to country and planet, but that’s not a safe bet to make. It’s like joining the Manson Family and hoping you don’t become Squeaky Fromme.

We as a nation should have moved on from Trump about the time he started imitating and disparaging the handicapped. That should have been it, his nadir. Bang the gong and yank him off the stage, period.

To those self-described patriots who are now waking up to realize that Putin and his far-right, antisemitic so-called Christian nationalist supporters abroad are continuing to set the tone on their news feed with their propaganda, yet still don’t want to admit they have been hijacked in mind, body and soul, well—I’ve got some actual news for you: When the doctor tells you it’s cancer, it’s fucking cancer. Nothing you say or do or pray for can change that.

Regardless of the many who have been fooled along the way, Trump is here now and it is because so many have been so willing to be co-opted by straight evil no matter the cost. They are hopeless and lost—and frankly, spoiled by a lifetime of a life without consequence as Americans. They would rather see the world as a reflection of the darkness and decay within themselves.

The GOP, the once proud party of my grandfathers, has become the symbol of extinguishing human activity one bad decision, one greedy, pinch-faced white guy, one insult to the undeserving at a time. That’s it. They are a one-item dessert menu featuring a cocaine-filled three-inch-dick Jell-o mold spiked with Fireball and sprinkled with crushed glass. Maybe to a bitter few that looks or sounds good, but to the majority of Americans, they take one peek, get nauseous and have to go about the drudgery of their daily lives just to help them forget the human cold sores now taking charge.

Brazen with newfound power, their tactics went from underhanded and spittle-flecked to downright brazen and “Holy what-the-fuck!” Look no further than the latest moves of the extremist Republicans in North Carolina. The same men who cut taxes for the wealthy, denied health care to the poor, attacked public education, targeted immigrants and suppressed votes are now pissed because—in spite of gerrymandering the state into small pockets of black voters the size of an aglet—they STILL lost the governorship, now will not relinquish power.

As a result, outgoing governor Pat McCrory, though he lost by more than five thousand votes to a Democrat, Roy Cooper, refused to concede. Then he spent a month making false voter fraud claims, most of them aimed at, who else? Black communities. Last week, his cronies called an all-white caucus of the North Carolina General Assembly and unleashed the hounds of hell in the form of several bills and appointments to nullify the results of the election.

Team Trump is this kind of illicit and unchecked activity but on a global scale. Thanks to its new Russia-first authoritarian-friendly doctrine (I can only assume they all root for General Bratchenko to take down Patrick Swayze and his renegade Wolverines when watching Red Dawn), there have already been innumerable offenses and extenuating circumstances that disqualify Trump from taking office—and yet, still standing, still being outrageous and petty, still seemingly trying to throw this thing. And the people feel helpless because nothing is being done. The good news is judging by the pale, unhealthy blubbering mess that make up the steaming writhing throngs who turn out for his farewell planet Earth thank you tour, most of his supporters will be dead within the decade either way.

In interest of equal time, I also have to ask where the fuck has Obama been in all this? I get that he’s a bigger short timer than a holiday temp at a Best Buy returns desk and his job one is to usher through the peaceful transfer of power and he can’t have total upheaval on his hands before his exit. But also, he is the president and does have some options here. Too busy trawling Rancho Mirage properties on Trulia? “Cut it out” to Putin. Really, Bar? Are you sure it wasn’t “Cut it out, bro”?

At this point, I don’t think many in the political sphere would look sideways were Barack to say, “This man is unfit for the presidency, I recommend the Electoral College defer to the House and we go from there.” Puppy-eyed hand-sitter Paul Ryan can be president with the insatiable Kasich as VP at this point. Go right the fuck ahead, swear ‘em in. They are two all-white-meat chunks of ignorant stew but at least they’d both survive past the first word in the fifth grade spelling bee.

You hear all this talk of Obama’s legacy as the flame flickers on his tenure. To me, Trump and the Trump team’s plan to undo …everything and then some… will be the legacy Obama didn’t ask for but the one he’ll deserve.

I know it’s not that simple, but shouldn’t it be? This is an extraordinary situation. This isn’t, in other words, handing over the reigns to Jeb Bush and Bush Co. and hoping they do their best to tighten up immigration in a humane and fair manner and quiet the climate change deniers and get to work on re-building a stable economy from the workforce up not from the loophole down.

My sister is a water law attorney in Sacramento and she recently hinted (with a little backup from Jerry Brown Wednesday) that there is a lot of wagon-circling going on as the state starts to reach out to top legal guns in private practice to align with their mission …because it’s just going to be a fucking dogfight against the feds for the foreseeable future. Which is kind of no-quotes crazy in and of itself, right? Like what kind of place is this when one of the most progressive and tolerant and richest states, maybe in world history, is having to spend effing ALL its resources fighting off its own federal government. Welcome to 2017, I guess.

…Can’t wait to see my home state’s first satellite launch. I will be there.

A lot of folks are still of the opinion that “everything’s going to be all right” and it can get solved in court and California and any state in the rest of the US which, you know, still believes in a liberal democracy will not fall/fail. And they may well know better than me. Maybe being alarmist isn’t the answer. But still… I’m not comfortable saying/thinking those things, not right now. There is not one sign, not-a-one, that the incoming administration believes in anything but total devastation of all for the profit of the few.

Because when it comes down to it, Trump will have the military might. I don’t think many think it will escalate like that, not at first, but that’s the first thing dictators do when they get nervous or feel marginalized, slighted or attacked. And he will have the biggest arsenal of all time at his disposal—which also calls into question who in the military will break rank with the bone-spur-having commander-in-chief when his orders go counter to common sense, the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the UN, the interest of our NATO allies, the law of the Geneva Convention. Who will stand up to him when he calls for the world to end when, invariably, our vulnerabilities are sniffed out and we get attacked?

This is an example of the rabbit hole I go down on the regular. Usually running or reading something non-infuriating like a science journal or the back of a pancake mix box helps, but lately, it’s always there like a nagging little injury. I think that’s what people look for, more than ever—some assurances, some small comforts, that things aren’t totally spiraling out of control.

We are on a collision course with collapse. We chose darkness. We opened the door enough for evil to come in and we payed enough attention to it, left it on the sunny spot of the windowsill, talked to it, nurtured it, gave it the strength to win. Trump’s minority victory was not a referendum but we should all understand that we made it close enough to be the contest that never should have been.

We are the axis power now. We are also occupying a post-partisan world. There are old-line conservatives, centrists, moderates and progressives who are scratching their heads and writing letters and marching and reading real news and looking for answers in their immediate communities …and there are doomsday unmenschs who are treating the Constitution like kindling.

Americans have always struggled with evil and not always come up with the right answer right away, but we have always remained strident in the pursuit of good. A 240-year streak of eventually coming to the right conclusion that once so assured the world about us has come to an end. No matter what angle you look at it, we have been compromised and we have let our hearts go dark.

Aesop once postulated that God helps those who help themselves. If the inverse is also true, we can only pray he find the mercy to rid us of the suffering quickly when the end does come.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author ofBurgundy Upholstery Skywhich you should purchase for yourself and a friend this holiday season.