Once there was a Martian, green-skinned and with orange leopard polka dots on his arms and face as he throttled down and glided smoothly through the outer tangent of earth’s atmosphere in his exploratory mini space ship. Coming in closer he saw the great blue marble of a planet with all its silvery clouds. He smiled as he selected an orbital trajectory for his cursory preview of planet earth. He had all the latest equipment, e.g., atomic cameras that could see through anything, including close-ups that would rival earth’s own electron microscopes. Such cameras could also penetrate solid matter, and the little green Martian could see Washington, D.C., Moscow and Beijing all at the same time. Oh, and did I mention that his spaceship was also invisible both to the human eye and to earth’s most sophisticated radar detectors? And that his mission was to write his PhD Dissertation on the evolution of earthlings and their fitness for survival and continuing the Homo sapiens specie?
He selected a quintessential golden laser heat detector as his first choice to probe the activity on the blue planet. Selecting an easterly orbit, the Martian, snug in his invisible little ship, passed over South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope. To the far north he noticed much heat and fire generated in the desserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. Many explosions took place constantly without a pause, without a sound, and he realized immediately that these millions of white and red light flashes registering on the heat-o-meter were high- explosive chemicals igniting as armies of humans clashed in skirmishes on the ground, air, and sea in that vast area of planet earth. There were tanks and machines and soldiers, battling it out in cities and in the sandy wildernesses. Smart bombs laser-guided from aircraft, Tomahawk Missiles, and vast numbers of artillery shells exploded round the clock, night and day. His instruments saw up close how the red liquid life force streamed out of the wounded men, soldiers, women, and children and turned them into corpses in the dirt. Special, close-up, movement detection radar gave him a blow-by-blow view of the war maneuvers and of the humans engaged in mortal combat. Curious as to what events might have brought humans to such a brink of mutual and total destruction, the alien pondered it all. He checked his historical records of planet earth for clues to the savage behavior of these earthlings. He would study it more before entering the earth’s atmosphere.
It seemed plain enough to this little green visitor that such a clash had specific causes such as the older newspaper accounts of the airplanes that crashed into the NYC Twin Towers about 11 earth-years ago. Of course the emotion of revenge had been known to Mars, too, for eons, so he could understand the need to set the books straight. But by blowing each other up? Why some of the most heinous punishment ever doled out on the red planet was a sentence to spend a few earth-weeks working as a slave for your ex mother-in-law. That seemed a far worse punishment than going to hell in the mind of a Martian.
The behavior of these bizarre creatures called humans intrigued him. They seem to revel in heating up the planet with exploding fire weapons all over the globe. Why? It seemed conclusive to him that earthlings were captured by what Martians called “robba yo asspocketa.” In other words, “religion.” Yep.
On several subsequent orbital passes the alien attempted to connect the dots. He witnessed several religious television programs that seemed dedicated to gathering trillions of earth dollars as ransom money for an earthling’s being able to pass into the eternal life of the kingdom of heaven. All you had to do was tithe, contribute even bigger bucks for bigger favors in the afterworld, and you were set up for the future life in heaven for all of immortality. In addition, the television preachers all had their enemies. These were the devil religions skillfully chosen to demonize and attack and even destroy. Many Christians were taught by earth Evangelists like Franklin Graham to preempt the teachings of Jesus. Instead of loving thy brother as Jesus had taught, you as a Christian should beware the Muslim Brotherhood that Graham swears is out to destroy us Christians. And Christians believed that Muslims were out to kill all Christians as a duty of their religion as defined in their holy book, the Koran. Ask any earthling about all the virgins a Muslim might be awarded for blowing up non-believers such as Christians.
This paradox confused the Martian. What was the truth? Who hated who and why? Upon further study, the Martian found that nobody knew what truth was. Truth was an illusion. It was what you could convince your fellow earthlings to believe and to accept as truth. Nothing to do with reality or rational thought behind it. Truth was whatever these religious leaders could convince their followers to accept. As they laughed all the way to the television studios in their Bentleys and Mercedes automobiles.
The Martian discovered the same dishonest defect with politics and government on planet earth. No one knew the truth nor cared. What was paramount was how much money a politician could gather to get elected to office. Ifen he could present a Billy Bob image of himself on camera to where you would want to have a beer with him. Lordy. And getting there the more money a politician the more lies money could buy. And the more people would tend to hear it enough times that they would swear it was the truth. Bingo. And more money meant more votes. Truth was what you could convince earthlings to believe. And money was the key to success. Every time. In every country on planet earth.
And so it was with politics, power, and nations who went to war on the planet earth. A great wrong was created by one country against another, and all the humans from the wronged country would close ranks against the country who committed the fault or the crime. Why earthlings even learned how to hate countries who would not agree with or support them, France, for instance. When America invaded Iraq and France would not allow the United States to fly over its own country to conduct operations in Iraq, Americans began to hate the French. Changed the name of French Fries to Freedom Fries. I know that had to hurt the French.
Martians knew very well the ancient history of serving unseen religious spirits to kill their fellow Martians. These spirits told them to kill, conquer, steal all the gold and oil (Mars never had much of either). Or so they believed at a time very long ago. As on earth, no Martian ever heard these unseen gods speak or saw them, if the truth were known. But on Mars it was once as easy as it is on earth to fool the intelligent organisms to believe the lies, follow a cultish religion, to follow religious leaders, give them most all their money, and to kill your fellow creatures of your own kind.
This discovery intrigued the little Martian. As he descended in many more orbitals toward the earth’s surface, he tuned into earth television stations to study the eye of religious leaders and evangelists who moved billions of humans to obey whatever the particular creed demanded.
Earthlings were angry all right. And in showing their anger and revenge they were rapidly destroying their home planet earth. The pyrotechnic heating up of the planet created numerous problems. The water was evaporating for one. And the greenhouse effect of polluting planet earth with extra heat each year and big increases in the normal amounts of carbon dioxide compounded earth’s problems. Much of this heat was felt by the big smokestack industries of planet earth as well. Instead of harnessing the power of the sun as Mars had done millions of earth years before, earth still relied on burning fossil fuels for the production of electric power. Of course this added heating up of the planet did a lot to create new problems, e.g., unclean air for all earth’s respiratory creatures to breathe. Millions of new cancers each year became the norm.
Another catastrophic effect insured that every sea and freshwater creature on planet earth inherited the acid rain, coal ash, and other unfiltered smokestack earth factories became dangerously polluted in the fatty tissues with the element Mercury. Today these pollutants have an affinity for the fatty tissues of fish. Knowing this, the alien soon found on earth’s Internet, caused the fish and food regulatory agencies all over the world to issue scary warnings. No more than a few ounces of fish could be eaten by earthlings per earth month. And in some cases such as in pregnant earth women, they could eat none at all. The element Mercury, the Martian knew, would produce brain damage and cause serious birth defects regardless of biological anatomical differences between species of all creatures, including those from other planets and galaxies in the vast universe.
And why would earthlings choose to destroy their neighbors by destroying their planet and their race as well? By employing nuclear-tipped artillery shells why would these earthlings choose to needlessly produce radioactive isotopes that would be scattered about the planet and human backyards, water sources for billions of years? Were earthlings not the stewards of their own environment and their own kind?
It had been a long journey so far for the Martian. For the next few orbits he might relax and drift into sleep above the blue marble backdrop outside his port hole. He would doze off thinking on his discoveries and attempting to reconcile many of the inconsistencies and paradoxes of the human race. He would sleep on it.