Editorials

Editorial: As news stories go, this one was very big

Last week was a typical one in American news. With political developments that ultimately go nowhere; breathless “breaking news” announcements on TV; and endless attacks hurled by politicians and their televised sycophants, last week replayed the same American soundtrack we hear day after day after day.

Turn on the television “news” and it feels like our country is home to a tribe of backstabbing, entitled whiners who complain about anything and everything — not to mention believers in harebrained online conspiracy theories — instead of a nation trying to find common ground through common-sense approaches to our problems. We wonder: When was the last time that was true? 1940 to 1945 comes to mind.

But as far as news — or anything in recent memory — goes, there was nothing that quite compares to the announcement by the intelligence community in Washington that it has no idea what more than 140 “unidentified aerial phenomena” seen by U.S. Navy pilots are or where they came from.

The report issued last Friday says, in so many words: We don’t know what these flying objects are, but they are real; they aren’t some new, top secret development by America and almost certainly are not remarkable inventions by our terrestrial adversaries.

They are not weather anomalies, but actual objects seen by experienced pilots and tracked on sophisticated radar systems. 

Whatever they are, they are here.

Wow. It feels like millions of years of evolutionary history just got its head handed to it. Perhaps we aren’t that special or even unique. 

These objects — with no visible means of propulsion or flight surfaces, capable of traveling at speeds that would kill a human pilot — were almost certainly not manufactured by someone on earth who figured out how to defy the laws of physics and gravity and make a $100 million Navy jet seem as technically sophisticated as a soapbox derby car. 

Read what people like NASA administrator Bill Nelson and others have said in recent days and it’s easy to conclude that many scientific experts lean toward the idea that these objects have traveled across our solar system as exploratory, intelligently guided probes.

In other words: Out there somewhere is an intelligence sophisticated enough to figure out how to fly objects to Earth across massive distances measured in light-years. If they are picking up our television signals, we wonder what they think is going on here.

Is there anything more profound than the potential for life — whatever that means — on other planets? It makes the things we argue about here — what history will be taught, whether the last election was stolen from the real winner by Italian satellites or whether wildfires in the West were caused by Jewish space lasers — seem beyond laughable.

UFO reports have been around a very long time, popularized by writers whose books were adored by buffs and ridiculed by skeptics. Now, in just one day in America, the ridicule ended and we see there is something very real going on, with objects we don’t know anything about. 

It raises the very real possibility that sometime in the future we will learn that, indeed, we are not alone in the universe. If that comes to pass, what does it say about this planet, which mankind is slowly killing, and where we can’t even find common ground to stop the destruction?