Monday, July 20, 2009

Man in the Moon is so very lonely

Lots of newspaper articles and TV coverage marking the 40th anniversary of the U.S. moon landing. All of them seem to ask the same question: WTF?

It was a gallant quest, sparked by a challenge from JFK. A challenge that got many of us pulling in the same direction for a brief shining moment. JFK also kept us heading down the road to ruination in Vietnam. JFK's successor, LBJ, turned that road to ruin into a ten-lane expressway, and decided not to run for a second term in the wake of disastrous results, leaving the field open to Nixon. He did continue NASA's lunar flights but, in his second term, was distracted from the mission by break-ins and paranoia and Christmas bombings and cross-border incursions and trips to China.

Our lunaracy ended about the same time as Nixon's. And we haven't been back to the moon since.

Beating the Bolsheviks to the moon had more to do with beating the Bolsheviks than it did with the moon. We were demonstrating our superiority as the planet's only God-fearing democratic capitalist republic. We not only demonstrated this in space, but also in Hue and Managua and Cuba and Laos and Berlin and Tehran and Taiwan and Jakarta. We were so busy spreading democracy in these places that we forgot about the Sea of Tranquility -- ran out of money, too. Not to mention imagination. Reagan, too. Don't forget about him.

Think about all this next time you wonder: Man on the Moon -- WTF?

No comments: