Donald Trump makes everything worse. His latest victim is outer space

Donald Trump makes everything worse. His latest victim is outer space
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks after the successful SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 launch Saturday, May 30, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

I like space. I have since I was a kid, decorating my lunchbox with stickers for “Friendship 7” and “Liberty Bell 7.” Space exploration played an essential role in making America a technological powerhouse, Apollo was among the best investments America ever made, and a continued push into space would generate benefits on every level. I believe all of that. I don’t make a secret of my support for an expanded space policy. I’ve milked my press badge for all it’s worth to get down to Florida (in less COVID-laden times), talk to NASA scientists, hang out by the launch pad, and watch amazingly large things leave the planet.

But … I’m sometimes awfully embarrassed by the company I keep. Because not only do I find myself cheering along with a tech billionaire who is pushing his workers to endanger their lives for his bottom line, there’s also that other … tech billionaire who is … pushing his workers to endanger their lives for his bottom line. Plus one of them says the most asinine things on Twitter. Oh yeah, and I also find myself supporting a program being pushed by Donald Trump with the worst possible presentation. Like: How do we export racism and genocide to the stars?

On Tuesday, the White House sent out a little dispatch on America’s “destiny in space.” Which, okay, that language has been used before on both sides of the aisle. Destiny isn’t such an awful word—unless you do this with it:

"Americans are the people who pursued our Manifest Destiny across the ocean, into the uncharted wilderness, over the tallest mountains, and then into the skies and even into the stars."

There we go. Americans have pursued our God-given right to slaughter people by the millions, take their lands, steal their sacred places, ignore treaties, engage in massacres, and make really pretty movies about it. Because Manifest Destiny. This carries some extra punch, considering that Trump just delivered a downbeat, angry, divisive speech while standing in front of a mutilated mountain that was given to the Lakota “for all time.” Seriously, “Manifest Destiny” is a phrase that should be up there with “holocaust” in the dictionary of terms that any government should be ashamed to use in describing its policies.

Exactly how Trump intends to manifest the skies isn’t exactly clear. He can send Space Force to acquire some Lunar Lebensraum, or build a Trump Tower Mars. But the best solution might be if Trump personally commanded the expedition “into the stars.” He can report back in 40,000 years or so. It’s also worth nothing that the White House’s decision to spend this morning celebrating a flight that took place over a month ago might be seen as a sign that they’re desperately flailing for anything that even resembles good news in the middle of the current disaster. Then they screwed it up after the fact.

It’s a good thing there isn’t another intelligent species in our solar system. It would be so embarrassing to have them watching all this.


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