Sail To The Moon

30 Dec

The other day, my driver’s ed instructor went on a tangent and talked about man’s first steps on the moon, the Apollo 11 Mission. He told this group of teenagers that he remembered seeing this first human moon landing live as it was televised. He told us that he remembered it vividly, and that he would never forget.

What he said next, however, was what really made me start thinking. What he said next was that America is a country which is truly great, unparalleled in modern times, unparalleled even in history. Did you see any other country utilizing their natural resources, human intelligence, and government funding in a way that landed a man on the moon, and returned him safely home again? I think not.

It wasn’t the first time I had heard this spaceflight talked about in this way. Even less patriotic speculators can use the Apollo mission to point to our governments ability to accomplice a given objective. If you ask the Republicans, they’ll say that the government can’t form a logical health-care plan. If you ask the Libertarians, they’ll say that government shouldn’t be trusted. Government is inherently corrupt and ineffective. But that can’t be! Dammit, we put a man on the moon!

Every time I hear the moon landing talked about this way, it surprises me. When I first learned about man landing on the moon, I never considered government. When I first learned about man landing on the moon I considered it a feat of science. It was an opportunity for exploration of the natural universe, just for the sake of exploration. I remember staring wide-eyed and full of wonder, as I wandered through the exhibits of The Kennedy Space Center in Orlando at the age of five. These incredible men went boldly where no men had gone before. To tell me then that is was because of ‘government’ would be like telling me that musicians wrote music for money!

So this is how it is, there are complex reasons for everything. Not just the lover of the subject, but the person paying too. This is how it is, with not only black and white, but also the various shades of grey. Uncertainty. For better and for worse, it’s not the world I saw at five.

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