By Colleen O'Connor
It all happened before near Mexico 66 million years ago.
It may happen again this week if President Trump’s threat to close the border with Mexico becomes fact.
That could be the day the dinosaurs died.
To quote paleobiologist,Timothy Bralower, “You’re going back to the day that the dinosaurs died. That’s what this is. This is the day the dinosaurs died.”
Granted, Bralower was referencing the latest archaeological find published Friday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and not current events.
These scientists dug up fossilized fish that prove a massive asteroid that landed near Mexico killed plants, animals, fish and dinosaurs within “the first minutes or hours” after impact.
These fossils are the “preservation, in other words, of a fresh hell,” according to another scientist.
Small wonder the archaeological community is “tremendously excited” by the discovery.
Such a description could equally apply to every historian and journalist’s notes on today’s incendiary politics. Tremendous excitement on all sides.
And not just because President Trump may close the border with Mexico this week—repeatedly naming San Diego as a good place to start.
“A part of San Diego needs a wall, they want a wall very desperately,” Trump said. “They’re willing to do anything to get it.
Says who? And how would that work?
The last brief closure resulted in an estimated loss of $5.3 million in commerce in San Ysidro alone. About $255 billion in gross regional product in San Diego and Imperial counties is dependent on cross-border commerce each year.
Seems like a hell of an idea—until put into place. Then it is just hell.
Trump may want to foment a constitutional crisis on the border to expand his use of “executive privilege” over the Mueller report findings.
Or because he fears the “subpoena cannons” now loaded and firing from the House of Representatives toward the White House.
Or his fears may be just be imagined or “fake news.”
Ours, however, are real and escalating. And they are near cosmic in nature.
Think about it.
In every city, every village, the oceans, even in space, the forms and norms we once recognized have changed “faster, alas, than the human heart.”
Who among us, recognizes or comprehends what is coming?
The human species is struggling to keep up with genetically engineered babies, planetary degradation, alien conspiracies, Frankenstein tech, nuclear proliferation, financial meltdowns, corrupt institutions, mass murderers on social networks, despots ordering murders, unending wars with countless refugees, and a forever news cycle pumping, hyping, and click-baiting it all.
With such understandable fears permeating current events, how easily any sideshow barker can push that fear into hysteria.
History is full of such times.
But how easy it is to miss the symptoms, to avoid the tough decisions, and pretend a metaphorical asteroid isn’t in our future.
How easy it is to hope — a cliche without solutions.
How easy it is to threaten — a bluff without merit.
How easy it is to ignore the dangers of an unstable globe.
As Pulitzer Prize winning author Frances Fitzgerald,once prophetically told me—decades ago—the world will eventually be peopled by two forces: tourists and refugees.
The refugees are at our gates, Europe’s gates and Africa’s gates.
And so are the tourists, the barbarians and the dinosaurs.
Remember, the planetary deaths caused by that giant asteroid all occurred within the first few minutes or hours after initial impact.
About three in four species perished in what is called the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction also known as the K-Pg event or K-T extinction.
Not just the dinosaurs died. Almost everything else did, too.
“Now what?” is the imperative question of this era.
And who—if anyone—can best articulate those answers?
Watch the Mexican border wall fight. That may provide a clue this week.
Will Trump become the dinosaur wandering in a forgotten, fast-changing and lost world—unaware of what he is setting in motion? Or will he retreat from his threat in time?
It’s anyone’s guess.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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