We look to science fiction to see what the future could hold. We look to science fiction to see what we as a society should avoid. We look to science fiction to improve the people we are and have hope about what’s ahead. And we look to science fiction to be absolutely terrified. Examples: what would happen if robots rose up and took on humanity? How would people and civilization be affected if people could travel through time? And, most importantly, what would we do if aliens invaded Earth?
I want to dig even deeper on that question: what would happen if aliens invaded Earth right now? How would our president and our fellow citizens react? How would Independence Day go down during the Trump presidency?
First we need to sum up Independence Day because some people weren’t alive when this classic of science fiction graced our screens. It’s about an alien invasion and the American patriots who try to fight back. That’s it, that’s seriously the whole plot. No one has said ID4 is a masterpiece of storytelling or plot but it is a classic when it comes to scope, special effects and casting. The cast is diverse, funny, engaging. The special effects were groundbreaking at the time and still hold up. And Roland Emmerich proved once again how he is a master at creating large-scale destruction that you can’t look away from. This movie was BIG. Or, in the words of our dear leader, bigly.
So let’s see what would happen if Independence Day happened in 2019. Strap in.
Are we a nation that is ready for contact by extra-terrestrials? The answer is no of course, no nation is. But how would we react? If previous disasters and major news stories are any indication, we would approach Martian arrival in a very America way.
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook would be flooded with pictures, video and comments about the invasion. In fact, most of those social media sites would collapse under the weight of traffic. And people would worry about THAT more than they would the suspicious aircrafts coming from space. Yes, we would be facing the possible extermination of our species but don’t tell me we wouldn’t be making light of it. Within minutes there would be memes and jokes bouncing all over the web. Trending topics across the country would be solely about the aliens. Bars, restaurants and common places would be packed with people speculating and watching TV together. Some brand on Twitter would make a dumb joke and be publicly ridiculed. Will Smith or someone from a sci-fi film would tweet something silly like “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Things would be uneasy and bizarre but it would feel very modern and American.
Americans have a tendency to come together in very peculiar ways and this event would prove it. But make no mistake: all of this hubris and social media chatter would be an attempt to conceal the very real fear we would all be feeling as the UFOs come floating down to Earth.
People on both sides of the aisle have issues with the media and they would have great reason to during contact with a species from space. Certain news networks would look at things thoughtfully and through a scientific lens. Others would stoke fear and paranoia as they cite unnamed sources and let confusion and terror run amok. Talking heads would debate each other and question the motives of the aliens. You’d be hearing Breaking News alerts every five seconds as new footage rolls in from around the globe. It would be chaotic, exciting and a hundred times more obnoxious than even the biggest news story you remember.
And heaven forbid the aliens have bad intentions. The fear would be ratcheted up beyond belief if the invaders attacked. The tone would certainly change, becoming far more grounded, but the misinformation would still spread like wildfire. Blame would be cast at every politician on Earth and ideas for retaliation would run rampant. But it would all be noise at that point and it would be so damn loud you’d hope for the aliens to take out the networks first. I for one can’t imagine someone like Sean Hannity spouting off advice on how to fight back against aliens. Gosh, just imagine what Alex Jones would say.
We leave the scariest question for last: how would Donald Trump respond to an alien invasion? Sure, he hasn’t handled other (Russian) invasions well in the past but would his bluster and big-headedness actually work to our advantage when the flying saucers land?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha, no. Of course not. Donald Trump as president when ETs arrive sounds like a disaster that even Roland Emmerich would run from. Things would start with rumor and misinformation — coming straight from Mr. Trump’s mouth. That would be followed by some rambling speech in the Oval Office. If and when aliens start killing us, Trump would come out strong. He would talk of America’s might and how the aliens are about to get a whooping they won’t soon forget. But it would all be talk because the man knows nothing about 1) the military 2) alien technology and 3) anything. Things would go downhill quickly. I pray we would have some smart military leaders behind the scenes, trying to guide our leader in the right direction. The American military would strike back, our attack would fail and Trump would release a message completely misrepresenting how poorly we are faring. Alien defeat is right around the corner, he’d say. They’re scared and hurting, he’d claim. They’re about to experience fire and fury unlike anything before, he’d boast. His “leadership” would ensure that any smart American would be high-tailing it out of town like Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds. When it was all said and done, Trump would probably survive after millions perished. And as we are all loaded up into alien blending machines, our president would still be spouting about how incredible our military is and how wonderfully he did as a leader during this time of crisis. He’d tell us how badly Europe is doing and how their leaders don’t know a thing. He’d defend the aliens for some reason. He’d blame it on Obama.
Meanwhile the rest of us would be wishing for Bill Pullman.