I need help working through this. I’m starting to suspect that the 2016 election might disprove the possibility of the future invention of time travel.
We’ve watched Donald Trump rack up a steady stream of GOP primary victories. As he moves closer to securing the Republican nomination, we move closer to the disastrous possibility of Donald Trump actually being elected president.
But note what we haven’t yet seen — the sudden appearance of dozens of time-traveling visitors from the future desperately scrambling to prevent that from happening. That’s surprising.
Now, it’s entirely possible that this merely indicates that our time-traveling friends from the future are looking back on 2016 as the year that Donald Trump eventually lost the November election. In that case, future time-travelers might not regard 2016 as a pivotal year worthy of their energy and attention for missions attempting to correct the disastrous mistakes of history. Or perhaps 2016 therefore constitutes, for them, a kind of official no-fly zone, with time-travelers forbidden to return to early 2016 lest they inadvertently do something to change that outcome and accidentally spark a chain of events that might, instead, result in a Trump victory.
So, come November, after breathing a huge sigh of relief at Trump’s defeat, I may have to change my mind about this and look back at the absence of intervening time-travelers as evidence for the future invention of time-travel.
It’s also possible, if we take a multiple-divergent-timelines view of how this would work, that any future timeline subsequent to the election of Donald Trump will turn out to be such a dystopian nightmare of proudly oafish brutality and ignorance that no such future society will be capable of inventing and constructing the devices that will make time-travel possible. Maybe the only possible futures in which time travel can be later invented are those futures that follow Trump’s defeat.
Another possibility: The visitors from the future have already been here (been now?), busily mucking about with our politics in an effort to stop Trump, but due to some cruelly ironic law of time-travel determinism they’ve only succeeded in making things worse, producing the strange, chaotic mess that this campaign has turned out to be. (“I’ll travel back in time to stop Trump by convincing Ben Carson to run against him!”)
Or maybe what we think of as our original, unsullied timeline is really the consequence of innumerable failed attempts by future time-travelers to avert some other, worse, outcome that they’ve managed to divert from happening in our reality. Perhaps the first mission was sent to prevent the Horrible Thing that happened because of President Jeb Bush, so the time-travelers first visited December 2000, stopping the Florida recount in time to ensure that Jeb’s brother would be elected and go on to fail so horrifically as president that no one else sharing the name Bush could ever get elected. Or maybe every step of our politics for generations now has been the unintended consequence of the time-travelers’ original mission of preventing the election of President Harvey. (Who’s President Harvey? Exactly.)
Or maybe time travel is possible — and will, one day, be invented — but that it turns out to be an ineffective tool for attempting to alter the past because time-travelers from the future are unable to retain their future memories. They awaken here, in the present, in a Jason-Bourne-like state of amnesia, confused and disoriented, with no way to remember where they’re from or why they chose to come here.*
There’s a lot to consider here.
For me, it boils down to this: The political rise of Donald Trump is exactly the sort of thing that we should expect to attract the attention of future time-travelers intent on correcting the disastrous mistakes of the past, and yet we have not yet witnessed (or detected) the arrival of any such visitors. To me that means one of two things must be true:
1. Donald Trump will lose in November; or
2. Time-travel is impossible and will never be invented even in the distant future.
I suppose both of those things might be true, but the current absence of time-travelers, I think, proves that at least one of them is.
(The above musings stems from reading Matt Kirsch’s plan to stop Donald Trump. That’s a long-shot, but it has a better chance than anything Reince Priebus is likely to come up with.)
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* This is what I thought Blindspot was going to be about and I’m still disappointed I was wrong. But I still enjoy compiling a list of people who might be suspected of being just such disoriented visitors from the future, because that would explain rather a lot.