By far the wildest development in the Trump Era is the fact that the United States government has said that U.F.O.s exist, and the story is either relegated to back-page news, or wiped off the cable news map the moment Trump hits “send” on his next tweet. This was the title of a New York Freaking Times article in 2017—headlined by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the Times’ Ebola coverage: Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program.
Contracts obtained by The Times show a congressional appropriation of just under $22 million beginning in late 2008 through 2011. The money was used for management of the program, research and assessments of the threat posed by the objects.
The funding went to Mr. Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace, which hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.
Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.
They even provided video of a U.F.O. taken by the Navy as they marveled at the astronomical speeds it was reaching.
While there are serious issues with some of the details of that story, the overall report proves that the United States Congress appropriated money for a “U.F.O. program” that reportedly recovered “metal alloys and other materials.”
Earlier this week, Politico reported that the “U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for pilots and other personnel to report encounters with ‘unidentified aircraft.’” Yesterday, Joseph Gradisher, the spokesman for office of the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare said this to The Washington Post:
”We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who’s doing it, where it’s coming from and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again.”
In other words: the United States Navy just confirmed on the record that U.F.O.’s are real, they are intruding on American military airspace and there is nothing we have done to stop them because we don’t know much about them.
HOW IS THIS NOT FRONT PAGE NEWS!?!?!?!?!
One of the biggest existential questions we face is whether we are alone in this vast expanse we call a universe. NASA did the math and found that there are 19 sextillion stars like our sun with at least one planet that’s similar to Earth. That means that our best odds of being alone in the universe based off our rough knowledge of it is 19,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1.
Given that we are the military and aerospace superpower on this planet, if a flying craft didn’t come from us—and that’s what the Navy is saying—then it’s likely that craft is not from this planet. While we don’t have official confirmation that aliens are real, we have arrived at a moment—based off of official statements and outer space observations from the most powerful government in the world—where we can conclude that:
1. U.F.O.’s are 100% real.
2. The odds that we are the only life in this universe are unfathomably low.
4. Each government has devoted (at least) millions of taxpayer dollars to U.F.O. programs.
5. The U.S. government confirmed that the Navy’s “previously unreported move is in response to a series of sightings of unknown, highly advanced aircraft intruding on Navy strike groups and other sensitive military formations and facilities [since 2014], the service says.”
This is one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of mankind, and it’s being blocked out of the news cycle because of Donald freaking Trump. Imagine going back to the 1990s and telling yourself that the jackass from Home Alone 2 would overshadow the possible discovery of alien life visiting this planet. This is bewildering.
Because we are all worn down from the drudgery of the news cycle, we don’t have any emotional capital left to spend on the United States government confirming on the record that U.F.O.’s are real. This is both disheartening and entirely understandable. The phrase “we live in hell” has become ubiquitous in the Trump Era for a reason. He blocks out the sun metaphorically, and—given his efforts to exacerbate climate change—he is also doing his damnedest to bring that dystopia about literally.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.