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, Rice University speech, 9/12/62
Regular readers of our crap know we are unabashed space fans. The Apollo 11 moon landing is our earliest memory and for our money, it remains mankind’s finest hour: a line of demarcation separating all that came before from everything that has followed. Though the 1960’s were as tumultuous and divisive a time as the second decade of the 21st century, we were able to marshal the best of energies and skills and hopes as a society and a species to turn, as NBC’s Roy Neal said, “man’s age-old dream into reality”.
Unfortunately, the next step, a manned mission to Mars, was never pursued, even though we probably could’ve gotten there in the 1980’s had we wanted to.
We didn’t though. The last Apollo mission flew in 1972 and the space shuttle has been retired and now America, the only nation to put humans on the moon, cannot even send its astronauts into space anymore. America has stopped striving and the best of our collective talents, energies, and skills are being wasted.
We are feeling the effects of this, too and we do not have to search too far into the future to see the Great American Experiment ending because America’s demise is now the light at the end of the tunnel. There is simply too much war and too much debt and our society is too fractured to seriously believe America will flourish in the long-term.
…because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.
As a nation and as individuals we must demand and expect our very best. The best way for us to do that, to marshal our collective best, is for us to organize and measure our personal best every day. Each day has 24 hours, the only commodity all humans are issued in equal measure. Are we putting those hours to good use, or are we squandering them? Are we making our time serve us, or are we merely marking time while on this planet?
Friends, we have a collective responsibility to make our time serve us. When enough of us do that, we’ll have a country that is its collective best, a country that is flourishing, at peace with itself and the rest of the world, and not within a generation or two of collapse.