The Last Night

In less than twelve hours, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. Let’s put this in terms that a space cadet like myself can relate to.

Is it like we’re waiting for an asteroid or comet to slamdance the planet (think “Deep Impact,” not “Armageddon“), knowing that in mere hours the planet will be scrubbed down to bedrock and made as lifeless as the moon? Hardly. I can do hyperbole and hysteria as well as the next blogger, but it’s not going to serve any useful purpose.

But we’re on the right track.

Instead of a comet or asteroid the size of Texas heading on a collision course, let’s say that astronomers have found that the sun’s motion is taking the solar system into a nebula, a dust cloud, a vast three-dimensional wad of gas.

We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re pretty sure that it won’t be good. Maybe it’s just that in the cloud we’ll get cooler because the sun’s light will be dimmed by this interstellar fog we’ll be drifting through. Maybe instead of just cooler, it wills start to get cold, crops failing, a new Ice Age starting. Maybe there will be radiation, or the Earth’s ozone layer will be completely stripped away. Maybe the entire atmosphere will start to be slowly torn away from us. Maybe this will happen in weeks or months, maybe in lifetimes. Maybe we’ll be able to engineer some stopgap solutions to mitigate the effects, or maybe we’ll just die.

Tonight our nebula is the entire international right-wing fascist surge. We’ve seen it in Europe, we saw it in Asia and Australia, we saw it in the way Great Britain voted to leave the EU in Brexit, and now we’re up to our eyeballs in it here in the US of A.

Will we make it out the other side, whatever that might be, with little or no change other than what we might have seen in, say, the difference between the Johnson Administration and the Nixon Administration? Maybe, but it’s very difficult to see how that could happen.

It’s not just Trump, it’s not just Putin, it’s not just the GOP or the Tea Party. It’s all of the people who are reveling in being self-declared “deplorables.” It’s the racists, misogynists, homophobes, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis, all of whom now are being give permission to come out from under the rocks where they had been lurking to take prominent positions in government.

Those of us who think it’s a good thing for women to control their own bodies and not be treated like property, who think it’s a good thing to welcome people of any and all ethnic backgrounds, who think it’s a good thing for government and religion to be completely separate, who think it’s a good thing for the government to stay 100% out of our bedrooms and bathrooms, who think it’s a good thing for everyone who’s legally qualified to be able to vote without jumping through impossible hoops, who think it’s insane to have eight old straight white guys controlling more wealth than 60% of the world’s population – we’re the people who are going to have to remember that all of those good things came at the end of long struggles by our parents, grandparents, and on and on.

We also need to realize that those good things are in serious danger if we don’t keep defending them. Every. Single. Day.

Enjoy this last night. Sleep tight. Tomorrow morning a truly evil, arrogant, and ignorant excuse for a human being will be one of the most powerful people on the planet.

And the world will never, ever be the same.

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