Back in 1972…no, wait. Earlier. 1969, a sportswriter-turned-novelist named Paul Gallico published a story about an aging ocean liner on its final voyage before being turned into scrap. Three years later, it’s turned into a movie. The Poseidon Adventure.
The SS Poseidon, traveling from New York City to Athens over the New Year holiday. The greed-head corporate owners, to save money on fuel, send the ship off with minimal ballast. Right there, you know everything, somehow, is going to go Oh Shit. And it does, right on schedule, New Year’s Eve, as the passengers are celebrating. An undersea earthquake creates a massive tsunami. Seriously massive. It hits the ship and, because of the lack of ballast, the ship is completely capsized. It literally turns upside down.
Hell, upside down. Who will survive? You guys, that was the 2016 election. We are the unlucky semi-innocent passengers on the ship when it’s hit by the calamitous, unpredictable wave. The people who should have been in charge are gone, replaced by inexperienced amateurs who tell us to keep calm and do what they say. If we obey and don’t ask a lot of pesky questions, they assure us that pretty soon the world will be all bluebirds and peach pie. A LOT of the passengers believe them.
The rest of us have spent the last 46 months trying to find some way to clamber up from the promenade deck, which is suddenly at the bottom, to the hull, now at the top, in the hope that we can manage to find a way out of the shambles. Sure, we’re being led by an annoying somewhat out of touch preacher, a semi-corrupt cop, and some smart-ass know-it-all kid, but at least they know which way is up.
They’ve managed to get us through the upside down kitchen, up an inverted ventilator shaft, along the flooded passageway to the engine room, all the way to the propeller shaft tunnel. Now we’re just banging a pipe against the hull, waiting for somebody to use a torch to cut a hole so Nevada can win the election for Uncle Joe Biden.
It looks like we’re going to survive. Yeah, we’ll have to listen to somebody sing a cloying version of There’s got to be a morning after, but that’s a small price to pay.
It’s been an ugly trip. We’ve lost a LOT of people, most of whom died unnecessarily. We’ve witnessed a shameful amount of selfishness and arrogance and corrupt double-dealing along the way. But we’ve also seen some courage, some self-sacrifice, and a willingness to help others.
That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news.
The ship is still upside down. And on fire. And full of dead people. There’s a HELL of a lot of work to be done. We’ve got good people willing to do that work. But remember those greed-head corporate owners who sent the ship off without ballast? Those evil fuckers still own the shipping company.