The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space. – John F Kennedy, speech at Rice University, 9/12/63
Today’s Thought is not the most famous quote from this speech, the quote we used yesterday is, which is too bad, because this speech is, for our money, one of the best given by an American, right up there with Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln (his second inaugural) and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time…
You cannot stop progress. You can either set its pace or follow those who are setting its pace or you can ignore it. But you cannot stop it. The heavens will be, are being, explored. The innovations required to continue its exploration – and the benefits to derived from those innovations – will be provided by those willing to put forth both the risk and the effort.
There was a time when America was investing in the risk and the work, but that time has passed and, as such, have taken a flier on one of the great adventures in human history. We are the lesser for it.
…no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.
I don’t think America’s descent to the second tier of nations and the fact we can no longer put anyone into space is a coincidence. And make no mistake, America is resting comfortably on the second tier. Mindlessly and hopelessly in debt, at war every day since 1989 and tearing apart at our social seams, we are on our way to collapse if we don’t do something. First-rate nations are not on the way to collapse.
America is no longer leading, or even pacing, this planet, we are force-feeding it. We are force-feeding it violence and more violence. There was a time when America offered the planet inspiration and ingenuity, but that time, too, has passed.
We can change that, though, all we need is Americans interested in America again. It will take one of the great adventures of all time – probably a manned mission to Mars – it will take vision and risk and work. It will take Americans getting involved and holding their leaders accountable again, but the rewards are there for the taking. All we have to do is go and get it. America will again mean something to the world when it means something to Americans again.
The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.