We don’t matter at all. None of us. And if he stays there long enough, we will each get a turn at being kicked down.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

I know not everyone is cheering this administration on. In fact, I know it’s the vast majority that’s outraged every single day, multiple times a day. All the live long fucking day.

I know not all parts of the country are lost in the pure ecstasy of hatred and evil and there are plenty of people gripping the steering wheel of their Highlanders or Accords or Escapes in carpools or commutes trying to figure out what to do and how to do it while listening to NPR, while reading The Atlantic and the Washington Post and the The New Yorker and what’s left of their local paper, while looking for some sign, any sign, of hope. Turning their desperate gaze to some leader, any leader, and waiting for them to say, “here is the blueprint. Here is the way out of this tunnel.”

I also know people are tired of hearing about it, tired of thinking about it.

We want to go back to doing what we do and that’s reading shitty fiction on vacation, being glad we’re not having to cook meth to keep our family intact (…while also being a little jealous of those who know how to cook meth) and complaining about legroom or lack thereof on coach, the fact that our Starbucks is for whatever reason too hot then instantly too cold and how there doesn’t seem to be the same amount of potato chips in a bag now compared to when we were little. We are Americans and if there’s one thing we’ve learned in three generations of relative domestic peace, calm and well-being since the Depression, it’s that it’s easier to go along and get along than to resist.

…Recently, I’ve been the guy you don’t want to get stuck talking to at a party. Why? Because I either bring up the T-word or I skewer the conversation toward it, rather him. “Don’t even think you’re going to get a scoop of that guac without hearing my ACA story or about 30-plus years of financial ties to Russia or why he jettisoned his presidential run in 2012 because of shady business dealings and his effort in 2016 was buoyed by the fact that most of those who tied to him recently died of unnatural causes.”

I get it. For the most part, you’re done with this mess. Which is fine, because for the most part, we’re done in general.

Americans now exist, existentially and constantly, in the shadow of a living, breathing Constitutional crisis, rather, a living, breathing crisis in general. It’s not coming. It’s here. None of our elected officials (either side) seem to have the ability or gumption to do anything about it—thank you John McCain for trying this week, you are an American hero, but it’s too little too late—and things just keep getting more outrageous/worse by the day, by the hour, by the minute, by design.

Give Trump credit for his knack to outdo himself one thing after the next—bringing the notch one more up on the ridiculous ladder before we’ve had time to digest or even, at times, caught wind of the previous …thing.

But the deal is, once he runs out of ways to fuck people over and piss people off and steal from people and excoriate people, he’s going to start lobbing warheads. Take Jeff Sessions for example. Trump’s chicken-fried Hobbit Huckleberry does his every bidding. As a Senator, Sessions jumped on the Trump train when only a pile of dead Eastern Bloc hookers was on board and rode it all the way into the AG’s office. Now, the man who’s trying with all his might to implement voter suppression, put his thumb on the heads of all Americans who aren’t bloated and sniveling and 800-thread count hotel sheet white, is getting left behind by the aspiring autocrat for his one fatal flaw …and that flaw is actually upholding the law and recusing himself from all matters Russia.

The Sessions lesson for all other Americans: Unless you share the same last name (except for Tiffany. Sorry girl, you’re one of us) you’re fucked.

Make no mistake and take this in the least alarmist and most fact-based way you can: We’re riding shotgun in a stolen Ford Escort full of lit bottle rockets, five keys of coke and $220 grand in stolen doubloons with a Jimmy John’s Totally Tuna sandwich in one hand and a Mountain Dew Code Red spiked with Captain Morgan in the other; head out the window shouting along to the chorus of Motley Crüe’s “Wild Side” careening toward the Thelma and Louise memorial cliff’s edge to one place and one place only, assured oblivion.

I mean this in a way that the place America still may exist, on a map and in your memory. But the idea America, the way we grew up and the way you want your children to grow up, that’s fucking gone. There are landmarks and reminders: The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, whatever they’re calling the Sears Tower now, fireworks, Christmas, office anniversary sheet cakes, gas station burritos, “King of Queens” reruns …it may still look the same or similar, but it’s changing. It’s going to be vastly different. It already is.

Take, for example, this week when Trump tweeted that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed in the military.

In case you missed it:

At that point, all Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate should’ve put their devices down, left the podium empty and the gavel on its side and reached across the aisle to link arms to get this Jr. mafioso, this lifetime criminal, this borderline illiterate giant festering back zit out of office. Stat.

Not only was he, with a few pecks of his tiny digits, singling out a minority population that has a suicide rate two times greater than the rest of society, but he took a swipe at 13,000 current service men and women who are already volunteering to put their lives on the line for this country. And he did it for NO FUCKING REASON, backed by no fucking policy and certainly with zero support of anyone in the actual military.

The number of trans who serve, by the way, is disproportionate to the number of trans civilians. Because for many trans people, just like, you know, #everyfuckingoneelse who enlists, service has given them identity and purpose beyond their day to day and provided them not only a career but a home—a friend and confidant network and a place where their work, dedication and loyalty to country is valued over whatever skin color or genital configuration or sexual orientation they were, you know, born with.

The uniform and the pride in wearing it, in other words, is what binds them not only to their contemporaries in the trenches, but to the country they love and would literally take a bullet for.

And he wants them gone. Wiped from existence, like they never were.

Make no mistake, What Trump really said is we, the rest of us Americans, with the exception of those whose name is Ivanka or Jared or Don Jr. (again, sorry Eric) …don’t fucking matter. Don’t matter at all.

He doesn’t value individuals or individual effort in this country …at all. He doesn’t value self-less contribution, empathy, charity, concern or caring. If you’ve ever been picked on, kicked around, made fun of, marginalized, made to feel less than—but scraped and clawed and kicked and screamed your way out of that hole, he doesn’t want you. He doesn’t need you. He will single you out and toss you out.

Sorry. You are worthless.

That’s what he said. That’s what he meant.

And guess what? And I’m talking to you feckless elected officials (both parties) who refuse to stand up in any meaningful way, the hiding-in-plain-sight profiteers in high-rise glass cases, the cliche-spewing heads of corporations, the white nationalists barely concealing racism behind whatever false statements and Fox News talking points spewing out garbage and untruths and meme-worthy hate snippets, the lazy xenophobes and the red hat-wearing fucking terrible fucking abusers of the English language and humanity in general—he was talking to you too.

In case you didn’t notice, or care to know, we are all one America. We are all one people. We are all one nation, under god …indivisible.

Or maybe not anymore suckers. Because when one of us is knocked down, we now keep walking, barely even bothering to look at the corpse on the road. Hoping, praying …wondering who is next.

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.