Monday, 27 August 2012
I watched live as Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. Like every 11 year old boy in the western world I was a part of the team that day. That sense of wonder and confidence in government, science and human will peaked for humanity July 20, 1969. If aliens landed in Times Square this afternoon people would be excited, but most sophisticated consumers of popular culture, would react by saying “what took you guys so long”. Most pundits look back at this accomplishment as proof we 21st century humans are moving backwards. Why are we not on Mars? Why does the US have to hitchhike to the Flying outhouse.
NASA got lost in Marketing over Mission. It made little scientific sense to continue boosting men into orbit, but from a propaganda side it was gold pure gold. If the Saturn program had been continued launching robotic craft, and if with the left over change new propulsion and life support system had been researched, we might have arrived in the future by 2012.
The body politic mourns for the good old days of can do America. Well there was an unsustainable load of baggage being carried by the USA in 1969. Nixon was running the place and a crazy bleeder bleeding the country out in Vietnam. Hard lessons were learned. Now what if JFK had not been assassinated? What if he stood up to the military industrial complex? What if he had put America on a Singaporean type benevolent capitalism glide path? Imagine, just imagine.
There may still exist people like Neil Armstrong and his breed, but I doubt it. Vietnam and Nixon destroyed that DNA. However we have gained far more than we lost, but the danger is we are losing everything we gained, and the backwards momentum does not promise us a force of Neil Armstrong’s. No we are getting a New Generation of Nixon’s or worse. RIP Neil Armstrong the last American hero with the gravitas and grace worthy of uncritical adoration.