A Long, Strange Trip

Like any social butterfly, I spent my Friday evening learning about the geologic history of Australia. To show the Earth’s massive age, they drove a car back in time at 60 million years an hour for 2.5 years to reach the beginnings of our planet.

Then from this beginning they traced Earth’s journey from a gaseous methane ball being bombarded with space debris to a life-sustaining little blue miracle. It’s awe-inspiring how unimaginably long it took to produce even the bacterial slime from which evolved this tiny sliver of time in which all humanity has existed.

Wow. Life truly is a miracle.

Then, as I sat there watching this program (it was NOVA), I began to think about the current state of our planet and what the future holds. Then my mind went to the Presidential election. Then my mind went to Donald Trump. Then my mind went to, “Are you f’n kidding me?”

Donald Trump could actually be “the leader of the free world” and have tremendous influence on this cosmically microscopic rock. Really? 4.5 billion years of geologic and biologic evolution have led to this? From the depths of fire we rose to overcome impossible odds and sprout life in a cold, desolate Universe and the best lifeform we can come up with is Donald Trump?

It’s not all his fault, though. We all come from the same beginning and he’s a product of a time and place he didn’t create. Like life itself, he lusts for power and self-preservation and has somehow clawed his way to the top. And we’ve let him. Nobody stopped him. Nobody else better came along (on the Republican side, at least). As a human species, it’s all our fault. We have failed. We’ve created the environment in which Donald Trump can become President.

It just really blows my mind. Start from the Big Bang and work forward to the formation of our solar system. Then the birth of the Sun. Then the coalescence of space dust into a little round dot. From there, liquid covered the surface and molten lava started to form land masses. Microscopic lifeforms began feeding off methane gas escaping from deep sea volcanic vents.

Eventually oxygen began to fill the liquid and the oceans brimmed with complex life. Life evolved and moved to land. Animals covered the Earth. The little ball of space dust had miraculously become a living, breathing organism that would spawn self-conscious beings who could think, talk, discover, learn, and make choices. And there’s a good chance that through all that, through all the relative impossibilities that have led to where we are right now, we will use our seemingly singular power of choice in an infinite Universe to elect Donald Trump to steer our shared futures on this little miracle we call Earth.

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