December 3, 2012

This park is exciting too. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

 Forget secession. Forget all the Official White House petitions to “Create and approve the MICHAEL JOSEPH JACKSON National Holiday.” (Capitalization theirs.) Forget the need to “ALLOW ALASKA TO SECEDE FROM A DYSFUNCTIONAL UNION.” (Capitalization also theirs.) And forget the people who are petitioning that they want Real Lightbulbs instead of those Weird Squiggly Lightbulbs!

There is a Death Star in the works. Well, there is a petition for a Death Star in the works. There is a petition to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.”

My first response was wholehearted support. I signed it. I rechristened myself and signed it again. I sent it to everyone I could think of with a social security number. I telephoned senators at home in the wee hours of the night and told them to “STEP ON THIS, ORGANA!” (Capitalization mine.)

As a Star Wars fan, nothing excites me more than the prospect of spending a lot of government money to develop one of the technologies from my favorite saga. But also as a Star Wars fan, I have to say: “Another Death Star? Really?” 

Look, it seemed for a while like all the Empire ever did was construct Death Stars. It was their solution to every problem. More rebels? Unrest in the Outer Rim? Discontented Ewoks? Just build another Death Star. What about education? What about taking a look at the tax code to see if it’s fair to struggling families, trying to raise productive Wookiees on 20,000 credits a year? What about making certain the Imperial Troopers have the tools they need to succeed at law enforcement, instead of armor that is apparently IN NO WAY impervious to blasters, which, really, is that armor’s only job? No. Just throw more Death Stars at the problem.

Just build another giant moon-shaped space station, capable of wiping out an entire planet (well, capable after an oddly long delay after pressing the button, during which people can comfortably fly in and destroy the station).

Look, this project has not gone well in the past.

This is literally the poster child for wasteful government spending.

Consider. If your increasingly unrepresentative government had just buried what I can only assume was a massive amount of taxpayer dollars in the construction of a giant weaponized space station intended to “keep the local star systems in line,” and it had been entirely destroyed by a small band of rebels, including a farm boy with no real weapons training, and then your government’s response was, “I know how to resolve this. We’ll build exactly the same thing, but bigger, and we’ll send our head of state to sit there while they finish building it,” you would — well, there would not be much you could do about it, because of all the stormtroopers, but you would not be very happy.

“This is wasteful,” you would murmur into your blue milk as you sat at dinner on your moisture farm. “That money could be spent on roads.”

And the track record is awful. 100 percent of these things have been destroyed, one almost immediately, at very little cost, unless you count all the Bothans.

I understand that Keynes thought that if there were no jobs, you should hire people to dig holes or, failing holes, create a giant space station capable of destroying whole planets. But facing the fiscal cliff, is this really what the country needs right now?

(But you should still sign it.)

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.