We’ve accelerated so fast and fallen so far in just five months’ time. It’s hard to believe there’s any chance we’ll be here this time next year.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

4th of July 2016:

4th of July 2017:

So now there’s a dictator soundtrack to score our burgeoning religious theocracy slash intellectually bankrupt failed state slash corrupt authoritarian regime that is complicit around and perhaps colluded with an adversary just to be installed into power.

In the meantime, a host of other problems fester: We have millions losing their service industry and retail jobs. We have a Muslim Ban in effect right now so student scientists from nations we’ve ravaged with our policy and our drone strikes can’t get into the country. The EPA head is setting his agenda based on the wants and needs of the companies that poison our air and water. We have a congress and a senate majority who want to take away—entirely—health care for their constituents, most especially for those most at risk: the youngest and oldest, in order to provide their biggest donors a huge tax cut.

…And well, none of that really matters because we’re hosted on a planet in revolt and on the eve of destruction and instead of building an arsenal of reason and consensus through science and timely reaction—we’re building an arsenal to destroy it faster.

All the while we tell ourselves it’s going to be OK as we go for an anti-fact/denial of truth mass marketed message instead of waking up to cold, hard reality.

The American flag and the skyrockets now represent us as the spectacularly failing poster children for an anti-progress/anti-empathy/anti-women/anti-immigrant/anti-science corporate-backed small percentage of white-male ruling class. We exchanged dialogue for sloganeering, community for the undercutting of our core values, actual sacrifice for the good of the many in favor of a Made in China brand of store-bought patriotism. We are an Old Navy red, white and blue tank-wearing, beer-can crushing zombie fraud run by a reality TV nightmare over-the-hill c-list celebrity troll who greets us in the morning by reposting a racist’s wrestling meme body slamming journalists and along with it the First Amendment and the freedoms we’ve been so careless to take for granted for so long.

Remember when we were bored enough to disagree quietly, secure and ignorant enough to go out to dinner and a movie and had the audacity enough to complain when neither were very good?

We are led by a man who fetishizes violence, sees himself as a deity, has no grounding in the trappings of daily life: what it’s like to break a sweat, to work hard, to remain faithful, to father, to create something with his hands. He is a slumlord who was first sued in the ‘70s for racial discrimination and has bounced checks and welshed on debts all the way to the top leaning heavily on investment from oligarchs of foreign adversaries to bankroll his smoke and mirror empire.

He is a national disgrace who all keeps us guessing on what he actually means. Is he constantly calling for violence? Has he simply fashioned himself into a caricature of a past-his-prime insult comic, hurting others so he can’t get hurt? Is he deranged? Delusional? Does he believe in this bullshit?

Clearly some folks do. And that’s the fucking scariest part of all.

North Korea tested an ICBM over the weekend which means our collective coughed-up orange phlegm is going to exploit that into war because nothing distracts from scandal and ineptitude like war does. Nothing creates profit for the few off the backs of the lives of many like war. Nothing will brutally usher in the end goal, which is the end times, like a brilliant flash in the sky and the end to all of the misery.

May we band together with our families our friends and our neighbors. May we look within ourselves and find the good that made this country a beacon for almost two and a half centuries. May we see a better 4th of July someday. Scratch that, may we simply live to see another—if we deserve it.

Andrew J. Pridgen helps run sister site Death of the Press Box and is the author of the novella “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”. His first full-length novel will be released in late-2017.