Sorry, border wall. You've been demoted. Trade war, you're on notice. There's a new boondoggle in the ole U.S. of A., and its name is Space Force. Because what this country really needs — before we can even think about securing our elections or rebuilding Puerto Rico — is to hunker down for a Space War.
Print 1,000 copies of this and plaster them to my car if I'm wrong, but Space Force may be the dumbest idea of all time. For a president whose avocation is spraying free-association word bricolage from his mouth and Twitter fingers 24 hours a day, that is quite an accomplishment.
Yes, we have played this game long enough to know last week's announcement is a set of jangling keys meant to divert our collective attention from some sinister immigration policy or looming Mueller investigation bombshell. And, sure, the cockamamie proposal may end up flying warp speed through a Republican Congress whose members are cozy with the industries who stand to make big bucks on anti-gravity space blasters. For now, though, it feels good to laugh.
Watching Vice President Mike Pence detail mercifully vague plans to launch the Space Force by 2020, I almost felt sorry for him — as much as it's possible to feel sorry for a guy who thinks the movie Mulan is liberal propaganda. He asked for this, though. He wanted to be vice president so badly he's willing to stand on the Pentagon dais and brief military professionals about an interstellar defense strategy that sounds like it was lifted from one of those YouTube videos of doped-up teens after wisdom tooth extractions. With a straight face!
Like many others who have served at the whim of capricious bosses and clients, I too have been dispatched to look into the feasibility of an "out of the box" idea from above. However, I know the best and quickest approach to these requests is to get an estimate. If a quick number-crunch doesn't elicit a "Jesus, that's how much it would cost? Forget it," get another estimate. The next best approach is to avoid the person or change the subject whenever he brings it up, until he moves on to something else.
Either would have worked in this scenario. The price tag for research and development of a space army would make any true fiscally responsible conservative weep. Name-dropping Barack Obama or CNN before scrambling away would have bought at least 280 Twitter characters' worth of time. Then again, Pence may have viewed the task as God's punishment for making eye contact with a lady server and ordering a ginger ale before his wife sat down for dinner in 1993 or something. Nowadays, one must self-flagellate a little in order to be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land.
I love Space Force because it's 100 percent the kind of idiotic million-dollar idea people come up with when they're blasted out of their minds. Having worked in bars, I'm quite familiar with cocaine gibberish. A space army that fights ... um, TBD ... is exactly the stuff I would expect to hear from a patron who has taken a few too many trips to the restroom. To be clear, I would never accuse POTUS of tooting — that would be downright unpatriotic. But I'm willing to bet at least one fun-loving individual has woken one afternoon with an empty wallet, save for a bar napkin with "SPACE FORCE" scrawled on it. Maybe he muttered "Space Force? What the hell is this about?" before tossing the napkin into the trash. He may have forgotten about his revolutionary strategy for weaponizing the cosmos until weeks later, when a concerned friend mentioned how weird he had been acting. "Bro, you were babbling about space weapons and you were like, 'Space Force all the way!' Do you remember? What was that about? Is everything okay with you?"
The name "Space Force" belongs on a child's generic astronaut costume or a poorly counterfeited Stair Wards or Battlestart Galtactical figurine, not a serious branch of the United States military. I can think of at least a dozen Space Force puns without even trying. Space Force these clowns out of the White House, am I right? Here's a tagline: To Infinity and Beyond Ridiculous. And do not get me started on the comedic potential of Space Farts. Did no one warn these people about Space Farts?
This administration is a Space Farce.
Jen Clarke is an unapologetic Memphian and a digital marketing strategist.