There have been some strange ones during the Trump administration, occurrences which in a simpler time we might have been able to laugh about.
There was the infamous glowing orb, and the time Trump stared into the sun without eye protection, the knockoff Game of Thrones poster announcing ‘Sanctions are Coming,’ and the fast food spread at a White House dinner for the college football National Champions. And who could forget ‘covfefe.’
If this was performance art, a sort of combination of The Colbert Report and The Three Stooges, we would say Trump is a genius. We would say, ‘this week, another masterpiece,’ as the President tweeted that the moon is a part of Mars.
(As a side note, someone is going to have to write a textbook filled with Trump’s … unique … scientific proclamations. It could be used in the same classrooms that teach the earth is 6000 years old.)
Leaving aside potential ‘alternative facts’ though, there is something else in the tweet which warrants interest — when Trump brushes off the moon as something “we did […] 50 years ago” and urges focus on “much bigger things.”
It’s not even that barely a month ago the Trump administration devoted an additional $1.6 billion to NASA to return to the moon, while the President boastily tweeted about “restoring NASA to greatness” and “going back to the Moon, then Mars.”
It’s that this type of outlook in general, a call to move past antiquated goals and focus on “bigger things,” is so rare for Trump and his administration.
Think about it: until this week, Trump wanted to go to the moon, he wants to bring back manufacturing jobs and reinvest in coal and oil; he wants to spend on the military like it’s World War II and cut social programs like the 60s and the Great Depression never happened; he wants to Make America Great Again.
This week, it was revealed that the European Union is financing the development of a drone surveillance army to patrol their borders for migrants trying to enter the country. Meanwhile, Trump is yelling ‘Build The Wall!” Forget climate change, economics, and healthcare; it appears even the xenophobia is more forward-thinking and creative outside of Trump’s America.
It’s a very literal definition of the ‘again’ in ‘Make America Great Again’ being used. One might have thought it to be more metaphorical, as in, a return to a time when the US was the most innovative and entrepreneurial country on earth, with the tallest buildings and the best technology. Instead, it has meant a literal return to things from fifty years ago which most international peers have long since moved beyond, as if the country cannot do any better, as if they no longer possess the capability to innovate and improve upon.
It has become an epidemic amongst conservatives, this defeatist, and frankly un-American, attitude, this lack of spirit and self belief. They are like the Samurai who would rather die with a sword in their hand than ever fire a gun.
So yeah, the moon is old news, outdated as a goal. Here is a new goal: Not Mars, rather, to move past objectives and attitudes from 50 years ago.