poseidon america

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.

5 thoughts on “poseidon america

  1. There is so much wrong with America right now, and it runs DEEP. Perhaps it’s always been there and now it just has a louder voice and a perceived permission to speak its mind.
    All of the aisles are getting wider. We’re more divided than ever, and it’s going to get worse. Conservative/Progressive, Rich/Poor, White/POC… both sides of every divide spoke very loudly this week, and we see (or I do) pretty clearly that DJT was not the problem, but a symptom.
    Does the idea that Biden may be elected feel like a reason to breathe for Progressives and Liberals? Yeah, kinda.
    But the nation confirmed what it really wants in the down-ballot races. We are sharply divided, and the Conservatives are gaining ground.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The next few years are going to be tough and probably rather ugly. But not as tough and ugly as they would be under Trump — so I’m grateful for the apparent Biden victory.

      The US can become a decent, respected nation again. We tend to forget that other nations have gone through worse circumstances and managed to find a way through them. Germany is an example.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is an excellent analogy/metaphor/whatever. This country is upside down and drowning. Can a Biden administration right things? Unlikely, with McConnell still in charge. In four more years, we’re likely going to have to go through the same gut-wrenching battle. I’ve been joking (sort of) about moving to Portugal or Spain. Now I just feel like I have four years to get my affairs in order, rather than needing to be scrambling now. We’ve won a reprieve, is all, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t believe a Biden administration can make things right (which is a pretty vague term, but you know what I mean). The divisions are too bitter, too deep, and too recent — and with a pandemic raging through the population, everything is upended.

      But I think Uncle Joe is a very good first step in the right direction. A couple years of decent, steady, careful governance can help the US regain its balance. After that, we can start taking a few strides in the direction of making things ‘right’ again.


  3. It’s not upside down. We’re in Opposite World. We first entered OW in 1968. We were promised an end to war and Law & Order. We got the opposite. In 1980 we took the RWR detour, picking up speed, but in the wrong direction. 40 years later we are well past any point of return, still hurtling towards the abyss. An inability to admit when and where things began to take us off-course has required establishing a new “Year Zero” with each rearranging of the deck chairs.


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