Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Sky's The Limit Unless We, Like Chicken Little, Let It Fall

If I had my druthers, youngsters of the future would have large heads like the one in the illustration filled with brains capable of creating wonders even greater than Curiosity. I fear, however, they will have permanently embedded cell phones and hands with no more than thumbs with which to text!

Why so pessimistic?  Just look around. The government is dysfunctional, taking our space program backward as well as the country as a whole.  Our kids are overweight and under exercised as are their parents and the world is at war.  What's encouraging?

Ah, but my memory serves me well.  That's one advantage of aging - until the mind goes.  Memories. I remember the glory days of space exploration.  I listened to launches and landings.  I remember the race between the Russians and the U.S.  The first animals then men in space, the first earth orbits, the tragedies and the triumphs and of course the pinnacle of the time, the moon landing.  All of this in my lifetime.  How incredibly exciting.  Yet the coverage on Curiosity lasted only a few news cycles.  It has already dimmed.

I cannot help but marvel at what the human brain can do.  Imagine being able to conceptualize a vehicle capable of traveling in a near vacuum, being able to land on unknown surfaces, even taking men and supplies to build a station where man can live and work. Imagine creating the cameras that send back data that morphs into spectacular photographs showing us what is beyond imagination. Even the technology it takes to launch these creations.  Did the scientists and engineers involved do it themselves?  Of course they did.  Government has no intellect.  Only money.  And it's ours at that.

The successful landing of Curiosity on a neighboring planet is testimony to the power of the human mind and spirit.  America has pioneered so much of it.  It shows what giving well educated, disciplined and focused minds free reign can accomplish.  New and even more bold technologies will come from it.  Success breeds success.  I know this is a litany of cliches but they are true.  It's a huge part of what America contributes to the world and because of our successes the world expects it of us.

 By what standard should the playing field be leveled?  Remember when the cream in your milk used to rise to the top?  That's a generational thing too, kids.  So it should be with the best and the brightest of this country.  Don't diminish that capability by wanting to be more like everyone else!  Don't diminish the reputation of the country further by continuing to lead from behind. Isn't that an oxymoron? Don't diminish how people see us further by continuing the vicious attack ads that destroy good people for the sake of a power trip.

A goal is improving on the already spectacular success of a Curiosity. Goals.  Are they still allowed?  The character assassination we're watching in this election cycle is pure, unadulterated destruction.  Which America are we?  Triumphant or self indulgent defeatists who blame everyone but ourselves for our problems?

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