"And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?" —David Byrne, "Once in a Lifetime."
Eight years ago, as had been planned, my good friend Jimi called me to make sure I was awake. I was, but barely.
Groggy as hell, I got dressed, brushed my teeth, hopped into the minivan I'd bought for a hundred bucks six months earlier from someone who was moving back to the mainland and picked Jimi up. Although it was an unreasonable hour — before 6 a.m., Hawaii time, we had somewhere to be:
A bar called Charley's in the hip north-shore Maui town Paia (a bar rumored to have Willie Nelson among its co-owners) was screening President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration.
The place was packed by the time we got there. We were essentially stuck in the vestibule, if I recall correctly, though we were able to make our way through the crowd to access the coffee urns from time to time.
It didn't matter, though; the diverse crowd was thrilled to see the first not-entirely-white president assume his role fending off the consequences of Wall Street recklessness and reversing a foreign policy approach that constantly put our siblings in danger for reasons we did not know. We quaffed that coffee and smiled as we watched George W. and Laura Bush step onto that helicopter and out of our lives. We could not imagine that, eight years later, a shabby, pro-wrestling-esque caricature of George W. Bush's id would be taking Obama's place.
This isn't so much about how we got here — to this point where a new president uses his inauguration speech to further divide the American people. Every dipshit can wax academic about that on social media, however off-base they are.
It's about where we are.
Where Jimi is on Maui, it's still technically morning as I write this.
Here in Florida, it's late afternoon and I'm keen to head to the beach for sunset.
In both places, water levels are encroaching, swallowing beaches and eating away at land masses we took for granted. We assumed our government, with its willingness to fund scientific research, would help us understand what was happening and why.
But with Donald J. Trump's assumption of power, that's going away, if the vanishing of the Obama White House's web pages on climate change (and LGBT protections, for that matter) are any indication.
If the American Civil Liberty Union's hunch is correct in its insistence that the Trump team share the contents of a small mountain of folders largely believed to be full of blank papers, the promises of his presidency may be as empty as those pages.
That is why it's important for you to know the definition of the word we mention in the headline, kakistocracy: "Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens."
That is us, at least for now.