From Heroes to Zeroes
Posted by Euroranger on July 20, 2011
Off the top of your head, do you know what today is? Aside from being a Wednesday and it being July 20, 2011, do you know what this date is an anniversary of? Most won’t (because most are indolent turds for whom school was nothing more than fancy daycare) and so because of that, I offer my blog post today as sort of a public service announcement. Gentle readers, today is the 42nd anniversary of man stepping onto the Moon for the first time. That’s right, today was the day, 42 years ago that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin undogged the hatch to their lunar lander and hopped out to take an extraterrestrial stroll and to presumably give their enormous steel balls more room to roam. Very rarely in the history of mankind has an event united humanity like the landing on the Moon did back in July of 1969. We were at war in Vietnam, staring down the Soviets in Europe…and yet, when Americans had landed and were preparing to open the door and step out onto the Sea of Tranquility…everyone all over the world stopped what they were doing and watched. Televisions weren’t nearly as numerous then as they are today and yet 1 person in every 5 alive at the time saw Neil Armstrong step from the lander onto the Moon and many more gathered around to the radio to hear it. There have been other events since that have garnered more viewers but nothing has ever captured the imagination of mankind like man walking on the Moon. It was a tremendous accomplishment. From man’s first ride on a rocket in April of 1961 to walking on the Moon in July of 1969…barely 8 years had passed. It was just 65 years from when Orville and Wilbur Wright flew at Kitty Hawk. In that summer of 1969, the sky was no longer the limit. We had conquered the sky and space and the Moon and were talking about permanent Moon bases, travelling to Mars and pretty much anything science fiction had suggested.
Today is indeed a day to be proud to be an American. Sadly enough, though, tomorrow is not.
Tomorrow the Space Shuttle Atlantis will be returning to Earth and will be subsequently detailed and then sent off to serve as a museum piece…and NASA has no immediate plans for manned missions to space that don’t involve hitching a ride with the Russians to the International Space Station that we largely paid for and built. Actually, that’s not at all fair to NASA. They have plans. They’re called Orion. What NASA DOESN’T have is funding. THAT was chopped by, you guessed it, Barack Obama back in October of last year by killing the Constellation program of which the Orion crew vehicle and Ares I heavy lift rocket were pieces of. So, when the Space Shuttle returns tomorrow, the United States will have, for the first time in nearly 50 years, no active program to further manned exploration of space.
I won’t often be heard saying this but, I’ll be a little ashamed tomorrow to be a citizen of a country who’s busy bailing out banks and other private companies whilst turning their back on something that very materially advances the human condition. Every single human being benefits from the discoveries we make to circumvent the hurdles to space exploration. I simply can’t believe the United States has strayed so far from where we used to be collectively as a nation that we all pretty meekly just accept that we’ll be stepping away from manned space exploration like this. We’ll throw endless good money after bad in a quest to educate our kids when what those kids NEED is a goal to aspire to. I’m sad to say but my son can’t actually have the same dream I had of what to be when I grew up.
If he says tonight “daddy, I want to be an astronaut when I grow up” I’ll have to tell him to aim lower…or learn to speak Mandarin.
There is still a chance that funding for NASA could be restored in future budgets but given how totally Barack Obama’s initiatives have saddled us with nearly unserviceable debt, I don’t hold out much hope that we’ll ever get back to our glory days as the Russians and Chinese move to take over a position we didn’t lose…we just walked away from.
It took 65 years from the time we figured out how to fly to put people on the Moon. However, all we’ve done in the 42 years since then is make excuses for why the sons aren’t as capable as the fathers and grandfathers. Instead of celebrating today, we should all be collectively ashamed to the point of rededicating ourselves to being the flag-bearer of humanity in space. It’s a place of pride that Americans were challenged to achieve and we conquered. It was a product of American ingenuity and exceptionalism and that product has been sacrificed by those who’d rather cater to the slackards and do-nothings in our society. It’s the sort of thinking that plagues and infests our once-great country today. It’s bad enough there are people out there without a proper education but what is truly abhorrent is the Cult of Ignorance that is so disgustingly prevalent today, where people are actually proud of being pants-on-head retarded about things and look down their noses (and all four chins) at intelligent and ambitious people with dreams because “them’s better ‘n us and that’s bad! Where do they get off thinkin’ that they’re better than the rest of us?” And we have a government and president that panders to that crowd because it’s all about the votes.
“Audacity of Hope” my ass.
My name is Euroranger and I approved (goddammitsomuch) this post.