I remember this saying from many years back- growing up in rural, very white, South Canterbury will expose you to a lot of weird phrases like this.
And, from my limited understanding about the etymology of the phrase, it meant that something was going badly in a very convenient, efficient way i.e. cos a handbasket is convenient and handy etc.
I'm sitting here thinking what to write, because the exercise is just to write, and I have a bunch of random things I tend to think about, but this a lot of what I've been reading and consuming lately has to do with American political history (Who Rules the World, by Noam Chomsky) and how bad they've been to- well, pretty much the entire world- but I've also listened to Daniel Schmachtenberger on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast talking about what kind of catastrophic future we're in for, given what a bunch of dickheads our species has been to the planet and ourselves.
So, "Going to hell in a handbasket" was the thing that came to mind. And, funnily enough, not to implode and fall apart about it- what good would that do anyone? But to actually look at what's within our control to do something about, and what it might take to do that. Just because everything's on fire, doesn't mean there's not something we can do- even if what it turns out to be isn't the best we hoped for, it is what it is (at that point).
If that means playing a really solid rendition of "Songe d'Automne" as the ship's sinking, then at least we've got something to focus on.