We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.
– John F Kennedy, speech at Rice University, 9/12/62
Nations are no different than us humans: we need challenges to get the most out of our collective talents.
The Apollo program did that brilliantly and regular readers of mine know I have always been a big fan of our manned missions to the moon. I still think they are mankind’s finest hours, a line of demarcation separating all that came before from everything that has followed.
America has not done anything great since Apollo. We decided not to send men to Mars afterwards and we have collectively been marking time ever since. The only nation to put humans on another celestial body can no longer even put men into space anymore, a circumstance which doesn’t fill us with half the shame it really should.
I don’t really think this country has been led since Kennedy said let’s go to the moon. Since then we haven’t been led, we’ve been managed. We have not had a president since that has been both willing and able to marshal the very best of our collective talents.
…not because they are easy but because they are hard…
America needs a great national endeavor to get the most out of our collective talents. Nations, like humans, will always get out of their existences what they put into them. America, once great, has stopped trying to be great and has been mired in mediocrity for a couple-three generations now.
The fault is ours. Only when we start demanding better of ourselves and our country will America be great again.