Friday, August 31, 2012
This article is published here.
By Barry Rubin
Note: The following is my daydream of a New York Times editorial a few weeks hence, after the craziness regarding the hurricane and the Republican convention. It is intended to be over-the-top satire that might make you laugh. The point is, though, that things have become so totally bizarre that I wouldn't rule out something like this happening.
Under any circumstances, the appearance of an alien attack fleet would seem to be a cause for alarm. Of course, we are not referring to good “aliens,” the people sneaking across our borders in the hope of getting citizenship and the ability to vote in elections—not necessarily in that order. No, we are referring to the aliens from the star system of Alpha Orionis whose space ships are even now circling our planet.
As everyone knows by now, the aliens have broadcast a threat that unless their demands are met within 24 hours they will start destroying one American state a day, killing all forms of life within its borders. There are those who have wrongly concluded, however, that the president should immediately cease his fundraising activities and that the schedule of the Democratic Convention be altered.
We view this as short sighted, mainly pushed by the far-right faction that has taken over the Republican Party. There is a big difference between an alien attack that bodes ill for the survival of all Americans and a hurricane hitting the Gulf Coast. No one would suggest that the president prefers to be partying while Americans were dying horribly. It's just that doing so is his personal duty, made perhaps less onerous by the fact that some of the specific states that might be wiped out, say Arizona or Utah for example.
Fund-raising and nominating conventions are a necessary part of the American political process. Consequently, these are legitimately the highest priority for a president compared to, say, dealing with the wrecked economy, massive unemployment, inflation, the takeover of Egypt by a genocidal-oriented totalitarian regime, and such relatively secondary problems.
Finally, we should address the potential advantages of the destruction of America by the space invaders’ advanced weapons. The U.S. debt would be wiped out overnight. Since no one would be alive to look for work the unemployment rate would be zero. And we would have achieved perfect equality. As an added bonus, the United States, a country that has done so much damage in the world, would be gone and the rest of the globe’s people would be free to pursue their development without fear of someone stealing their resources. Well, someone other than those from Alpha Orionis at least.
We do not know much about the culture or even the skin—if they have skin—or the gender—if they have gender—of the voyagers from Alpha Orionis. But we can certainly say that they are part of the universe’s rainbow of diversity.
Who is to say that Homo Sapiens, that breed which has ravished this planet environmentally, is superior to these visitors? Perhaps they have free birth control pills and recycling, the main features of a truly advanced civilization.
In short, who are we to judge?
But one thing is clear: threats of the imminent destruction of America should not disrupt the president’s schedule or the Democratic Party convention. That would be truly silly.