Image from BBC
I don’t know how much play this is going to get over on Fox News, but this morning, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists pushed the so-called Doomsday Clock forward thirty seconds.
Thirty seconds closer to midnight.
Thirty seconds closer to global catastrophe, to the possible destruction of nearly all that we love.
Now, of course, we’re not literally thirty seconds closer to Armageddon — the clock serves as a metaphor for incredible danger humanity faces at this point in our history, principally from nuclear weapons and climate change.
You know who was president of the last true superpower over the last year? You.
This means, Mr. President, that you — yes, you — helped push us closer to this symbolic midnight, toward what could be our end.
We are thirty metaphorical seconds closer to ruin than we were before you took office.
So much winning.
Your belligerent Tweets, your childish need to respond to every perceived slight, and your constant undermining of science and journalism have, in part, left us only two tiny minutes from the potential end of civilization.
This is not the direction we want to be going. This is not good.
I’m no expert, but I can’t see how driving humanity closer to probable extinction is, like, smart. And keep your trigger finger off your phone for a second: I’m not calling you stupid. I’m confident you could, like, find your way to the SATs if someone, like, spoke slowly and drew a really detailed map for you. But here’s what you need to understand: the clock striking midnight, in this case, doesn’t mean that you finally got rid of all of those people from “shithole countries.” It doesn’t mean that you figured out a sneaky way to keep brown people from immigrating to the U.S. It means all of us are doomed, from the most privileged to the least. Even the Norwegians. Even porn stars. Even you.
You’re not the cause of climate change, but your policies and decisions are erasing any gains we might have made in the last decade toward mitigation or long-term reversal. You didn’t invent nuclear weapons (no matter how, like, high your IQ is), but your actions are leading the world toward greater proliferation and danger. You’re not the first to doubt science or question the integrity of journalists, but your daily whining about “fake news” makes it far more difficult for citizens to put their trust in reputable sources of information.
It’s not solely your fault, in other words, that an imminently respected team of scientists, security experts, writers, and scholars believe that we’re closer to catastrophe than any time since 1953.
But you are partially to blame.
Two minutes, Mr. President. What’s your next move? More Tweets about how you’re a “really stable genius?” More laughable attempts to show North Korea that you’re A Big Boy with a Big Button that Actually Works?
I’d much prefer that you took some action that convinced us that you care even a little bit about the future of humanity.
As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists points out, “This is a dangerous time, but the danger is of our own making.” And if we can make the danger, we can unmake it.
Even though you garnered fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, the rules of the electoral college decreed you president. You have three more years to move the clock back, to push us away from destruction rather than toward it.
I’d start now, if I were, like, you.