Earlier today I saw a Saturday Night Live skit mocking the idea of building a settlement on the moon. I don’t like Newt Gingrich, but when he spoke of building a moon colony, I was proud that a popular leader was trying to inspire people to think about space again. To dream. We as a nation used to dream of exploring the cosmos and was dedicated to funding its exploration. We believed in ourselves, our scientists, and we took pride that we’d be the first to accomplish such a great feat. We used to have great presidents like JFK. You mention his name and he’s unanimously praised, and rightly so. He was a great man. A great president. But you know what? He wanted to go to the moon. He wanted us to explore space. Have you ever seen his 1962 speech? I rarely hear words that inspire me, but his do.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard. Because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”
– John F. Kennedy, in a speech to Rice University, Sept 12, 1962
Mock me if you want to. When Newt mentioned space, it made me happy. I saw a glimmer of a leader trying to inspire us again, even if just a little. Listen to the crowd when JFK exclaims, “We choose to go to the moon…” They burst into applause and cheers. He has to stop and wait for them to quiet down. That was America in the 1960s. Now look at us. We as a nation sit back with our arms crossed and give derisive looks to anyone who mentions the idea. What happened?
I haven’t done a lot of research into what happened with NASA and the space program after our initial voyages to the moon. All I know is we’ve completely lost faith in all of it. I’ll have to search Amazon.com for a book on the history of the space program, and find out what all has happened, and what went wrong.