Only Time Can Write A Song
I swear, it’s like half the civilized world knows the planet is falling apart, and the other 50 percent is oblivious, doesn’t care, or wouldn’t know what to do with that information if they had it.
I have an old, brilliant friend who I have known for nearly three decades. He nearly drank himself to death while we were in our twenties, and has since turned his life around and is a family man with a wife (who is as crazy as he likes ’em) and five chihuahuas. We were “punks” back in the nineties I guess, but I think it was our self destructive tendencies more than it was the injustices of the world that bonded the coterie that my brilliant friend was the head of. So we got down to The Dead Kennedys and The Clash, but our anger was an abstract. I was having a hard time establishing my own identity in those days-everyone who got near my friend got something out of being in his orbit. Even at his worst, when he was at his most pathetically drunk and incoherent, he drew us like the proverbial moth to the flame.
So as far as personal politics went in those days, I could not decide who was right about the human species-were we a group of cooperative apes who assisted and supported each other mutually, or were we a hierarchy where individuals flourished and were rightfully elevated above others by the strength of will, an idea, or an ability to gather capital? Left or right? Who were we at core? I careened between The Communist Manifesto and Atlas Shrugged as time went by. I was into some zero-sum shit for a while there. I switched from shirts to skins and back several times before I arrived at where I am now, which is to the left of Phil Ochs (kidding, of course). And at 48, I can safely say there I will stay.
My friend? I am sad to report the dark side has claimed him. I suppose I should not be surprised, because he had a distinctive, uncommon intellect that could easily look down upon a great deal of people with its raw power. I think that’s why he hewed right so hard, because his story is very bootstrappish in that he overcame odds to be where he is now and perhaps feels that anyone can do the same. I don’t know if it’s that simple, but that’s a bedrock theme for conservatives. They often fail to remember is how much help they got on the way up and the thing to do is pay that shit forward to the next soul who needs a hand.
Anyway, while I was on my latest Facebook jag, I drew his ire by mocking Marsha Blackburn and how she has her head in the sand as to how bad things are getting on our blue marble. I offhandedly referenced that the Doomsday Clock was at 100 seconds to midnight, a closeness to doom as we have ever been as far as the Atomic Scientists were concerned.
He hoped that I wasn’t taking their concerns as “science”. I replied of course I wasn’t, but that didn’t invalidate the points the group were making about things like nuclear war and climate change. We went back and forth and he said something startling to me; that the end of humanity will occur in a flash and no one will be able to do anything about it.
I guess that’s cold comfort in a world of uncertainty, but the truth of the matter, as you and I know, is the end of humanity is being hastened by processes in motion RIGHT NOW and if we don’t repent, we are going to end in that flash my friend mentioned.
But make no mistake, our destruction has been on slow boil for a while now; we are only recently getting smart enough now to be dimly aware of what we have really done to the planet. And perhaps that’s one reason why that clock keeps edging close to midnight because the news is bad, worse than we ever dreamed. And I am fully aware that the earth will shrug our species off and in a few million years sentient roaches will take our place-but the point is to preserve the planet for our crew for as long as possible.
The other reason the scientists worry is because of the proliferation of nuclear weaponry. Let’s see…we’ve got Pakistan and India getting hot about Kashmir, our wetbrained American president pulled us out of the Iran nonproliferation deal and in retaliation they have begun to enrich nuclear fuel to more refined levels, and now I see we’re gaming out nuclear scenarios that will not result in MAD. Yeah, right. I’ve long suspected the U.S. is also gaming out getting away with a first strike unanswered, but a limited exchange like the ones described in the article seems unlikely. I don’t think there is such a thing. It’s like that old movie from the 80s said: the name of the game is Global Thermonuclear War. There’s no other options-everybody dies in every scenario, unless perhaps we sit down and play some chess if we have a hankering for a contest.
The easy route is to do nothing and let our destructive ways claim us. But I believe we have a choice still. There’s so much work to do towards that. We don’t let the rope go slack because of a hard tug. We have to stop the brinksmanship now. Because that clock, however unscientific it is, is fucking ticking and we need to confront the existential challenges this species is faced with while we still have a minute and change left.