Cheryl A. Bates
In light of escalating tension between the U.S. and Russia, I wanted to share a thought I had after stumbling upon the 1951 movie, The Day the Earth Stood Still. First, let me say that as a child of the sixties living in a very rural area of the Pacific Northwest, the availability of information concerning the world was limited to weekly newspapers and access to only two major television networks (in black and white); consequently, I didn’t develop a passion for science fiction until recently. Yes, I literally became a Trekie in my fifties. With assistance from media streaming and unprecedented access to movies, documentaries, and other genres of entertainment, I have discovered a world of thinking in science fiction that transcends my rural country roots. How did I ever make it to the age of 51 without having discovered the film The Day the Earth Stood Still, a prophetic story about a humanoid alien visitor (Klaatu) and his omnipotent robot companion (Gort/Gnut) who land on earth to deliver a message that Earth must learn to live peacefully or be destroyed?
Photo Credit: Klaatu, The Day the Earth Stood Still
“It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder” (Klaatu)
As a representative from a federation of other planets, Klaatu is sent to Earth to warn humankind that their experiments with atomic weapons are threatening the safety of other peaceful civilizations (www.britannica.com). The message is simple, Klaatu requests to meet with all the leaders of Earth in which to deliver the message that unless humankind gives up violence, other planets will destroy Earth in their own defense. He was told that a meeting of such magnitude was impossible. Thus, as a peaceful demonstration of his power, Klaatu arranges for a 30 minute black out of power except where such a loss would be life-threatening. Even in the face of omnipotent power, humans are disbelieving in that something more powerful than they can live in peace.
Photo Credit: Surrounded: Unidentified armed men prepare their camp in font of Ukraine’s infantry base in Privolnoye.
Are we there now with sides aligning and taking on allies to brace against the fight over which one ultimately dominates the other? Each side is equipped with bombs aimed at the other that can destroy the world as we know it. Why do we insist on such lopsided accumulations of wealth and power? How can either “side” justify wealth and power that is used to secure more wealth and power, limit access to resources, and continued enforcement of hegemonic dictates instead of soothing the hunger of swollen bellies, healing the perils of disease, and perhaps building a world that is united, compassionate, cooperative, and beautiful? Where is that omnipotent presence now that will convince humankind that life is a beautiful gift and one meant to be shared?
Photo Credit: Peace