I love it when history just hands me a metaphor. July 20. It was on this date 52 years ago that the USA…I said the USA…not “Mankind”…landed two men on the moon. It did not say “We Are The World” on the side of the 363 foot monster that was the Saturn V. It said “USA.”
Yeah, we did and said the obligatory “for all mankind” thing, in a form of macho faux humility. (“Hey, we just wanna help the team…and we’re gonna play ‘em one at a time…”) But the message was clear. We are the United States of America, and we can do pretty much anything (except maybe get out of Vietnam with our ass and a modicum of dignity).
Metaphor time. It’s again July 20. But now more than a half century later, The American Can’t Do Spirit is on inglorious display. Yeah, I’ll watch the Billionaire Boondoggle on tv this morning. And I will have an appreciation for it. But I will also be mindful that this particular sub-orbital party trick was pulled off by Original Shepard 60 years ago. And it was a better show. And Uncle Al was in the air a full four minutes longer than The Richest Man In The World will be. And Al was a snappier dresser. Six decades ago.
That was supposed to be our first step on a path that would ultimately lead not only to the moon, but to Mars and beyond. Instead, after a half dozen manned lunar landings (all incredible achievements) we haven’t even put an American beyond Earth orbit since 1972. I graduated high school in 1972. I am now an old shit.
Home of the Brave? We are the Home of the Blustering Cowards. Panophobia. We are afraid of everything.
We’re afraid to simply defeat a virus we’ve had multiple chances to defeat. And the very people who are preventing us from winning bray about others “living in fear.”
We’re afraid of science. No. What’s going on in our global climate is not simply “The Circle of Life.”
We’re afraid of basic math. 81 million > 73 million.
We’re afraid to defend our own Capitol, Constitution and institutions from seditious assault.
We’re afraid of honest education. Owning our historical mistakes is not “hating America.” It’s loving it and wanting to make it better.
We demand respect for our national symbolism while rejecting the very principles that are symbolized. Because that is easier than thinking. And way easier than actually defending those principles.
We now have a national meanness born of fear and ignorance. Any basic gesture of human courtesy, cooperation or mutual concern is now viewed as “weakness.” That’s not only irrational. It is not only cowardly. It is ultimately suicidal.
Our government protecting our people is not Big Brother. It is the proper and most important role of government, as outlined by our Founders. “…promote the general welfare…”
We’re afraid of The Other. The Other anything. The Other anybody.
Panophobia. We are afraid of EVERYTHING.
And the very people who essentially piss their pants about everything, every single day, are the same blustering bully cowards who accuse others of “living in fear” while their own knees never stop knocking. They’re afraid of facts. They’re afraid of truth.
“Methinks you doth protest too much.” And, “Accuse others of that which you are clearly guilty.” It’s not often I get to link quotes from Billy Shake and Joey Goebbels.
But it’s a special day. It’s July 20.