Forty-five years ago as I write this, three astronauts were preparing to return home from the Moon. In just a few short years, the United States government, private industries, citizens and taxpayers went from never having put so much as a bread roll into orbit to sending men to another globe, through outer space. And we did it again and again.
The government did not go bankrupt. Society did not collapse. Indeed, we saw an unprecedented wave of technological, economic and societal expansion during the time of the space program. Taking big risks resulted in some tragedy, yes, but it also produced enormous rewards for the entire world.
We did this at the same time we fought wars against poverty, disease, and ignorance. All of these likewise enjoyed a large degree of success. None were won, any more than the drive to explore the cosmos; but a helluva lot of progress got made in a brief period of time. A time, you’ll notice, that saw the United States government acting like it had some guts, some vision, and some kind of purpose.
Now we have a government composed to an increasing degree of wimps. Republican-run states are going broke, their infrastructure is collapsing, their hospitals are closing, and indeed the GOP advocates letting immigrant children die in the desert, all because “government can’t do these things any more”. We’ve gone from can to can’t in Red states (and anywhere controlled by Repubs).
Where America once dared, we cower; where we dreamed, we are afflicted with nightmares; where we once sought to gain, we strive now only to avoid loss. It’s considered trite to say this, but it is true: “if we could put a man on the moon, we could save these kids/build these roads/heal these sick/feed those hungry”. It is a truth that the fearful do not wish to hear, and do not wish for you to hear.
Men used to walk on truly desolate shores, lands with no food, water or even air. They survived and returned. Nowadays, we act as if we can’t do so much as offer the necessities of life to a bunch of traumatized children. Please join me in calling “bullshit” on this way of thinking.
Fear is killing our nation. It is killing children, adults, our economy and everything we built back when we weren’t a load of scaredy-cats. We don’t have to live this way. All we have to do to reverse this horrific trend is take a deep breath, and take a risk or two.
Here’s a song that you really ought to listen to: it’s by a great artist named John Entwistle, and it’s about how it feels when “fear is the key to your soul”. Listen and you’ll hear the heart of Republican America. Listen and then resolve to cast aside fear, embrace risk, and make our country great again. Feed the kids, heal the sick, build the bridges, and explore the unknown.
It’s not that hard, friends. We just have to take that first step away from the fear that has been dinned in our ears by those whose purposes are best served by our being terrorized. That first step, and the ones that follow, will take us to a nation renewed. A nation that says (as it once did): “Yes, we can. And we will”.