Dispatches From an Alternate America:
President Goreís Mission to the Moon
Everyone in the Blogosphere is talking about President Goreís announcement this week to start a new Space Race with China but I want to add my two cents worth to the aether.
Now Iíve been as much a critic of the Gore administration as the next person. He hasnít always followed through on the lofty goals he promised us back in 2000 but he has made a few crucial steps in a progressive direction, like strong-arming Putin into signing the Kyoto accord and not joining in on the war fervor that built up after 9/11. Sure, he sold us out to the WTO but so did Clinton and itís not as if a Republican President wouldnít have either (could you imagine what President Bush would have done? I shudder to think at the depths of Corporate Cronyism that would come with such a bastard administration).
I give Gore credit where itís do, though. Heís made a lot of progress in beefing up port and airline security and heís already set the goal of an Oil Free America by 2012 and despite the attempts by Congressional Republicans, actually put the necessary research money where his mouth is. Handing the reconstruction of Afghanistan over to the UN was a good idea, too, regardless of what the Pundits say. We certainly donít want to look like Laurence of Arabia, forcing our values on an Arab country that is already rife with tribal infighting, especially after the way we blew the hell out of the country looking for bin Laden. And what with the sanctions against the Saudis, weíre running out of friends in the Middle East.
In my opinion, the announcement that we are ramping up our Space program again will be the shining moment in the Gore Administration. And I donít say this sort of thing lightly.
Goreís speech at Kitty Hawk was a nice touch as well:
Itís time to stop living in fear. Weíve seen the face of terror and found that it is not some demon with a tongue of fire but an all too human enemy, one with the same weaknesses and failings as all people who would use fear as a weapon to halt civilizationís progress.
Fancy rhetoric aside, a good, friendly, competitive race to the moon with the Chinese would benefit both countries in two ways:
First, as a positive goal for us as a nation. Weíve all been in a funk since 9/11. It was a black eye, to be sure but grandiose visions are what make America great and thereís nothing quite as grand as returning to the Moon. It gives all us Space Cadets a Buck Rogers hardon: daydreams of shiny domed moon cities, space suits with fishbowl helmets and the rush of liftoff! America was at itís noblest when we were striving for something greater than ourselves back in the sixties. Kennedyís call to have a man on the Moon by the end of that decade gave Americans and the whole world hope that the future could be not just bright, but luminous as a star. And this New Space Race could do that again.
Secondly, it will help us cement friendly relations with China. They'd help get us back on track as a country and get our head out of our ass, and we'd help them become more open and democratic.
There are the usual opponents to this space age dreaming and is anyone surprised that theyíre all Republican? Senator Cheney thinks we need to have big olí tax cuts for the rich, to drain off that annoying budget surplus. Voodoo Economics didnít work during the Reagan years, what makes Dick ìIíve got the heart of a baboon heart and the brain of a pigî Cheney think itíd be anything but a way to waste money now? Personally, I think using the budget surplus accrued from the Clinton years is just the way to do it, no matter what Governor Bush thinks (That blowhard is just sour over having his ass handed to him back in 2000 and loony to boot. What the hell is with his blathering about a need to invade Iraq? Hello, George, it was your boys the Saudis that pulled down the towers, not Saddam. Or did you not read your copy of the 9/11 report? Go back to Crawford and peddle that Oedipal nonsense to the lump in the bed).
And yes, I admit it. I have personal reasons for wanting to see a shiny new space program: Iím a big Sci-Fi geek. (Have you seen the Generation II Space Shuttle?!) I grew up watching Buck Rogers and Star Trek with my father on Sunday afternoons. It shaped the way I look at the future. And I donít think Iím alone when I say that Iíve dreamed of living on the Moon since I was a kid and now that itís finally the twenty first century, we should be doing everything we can to make sure those sorts of dreams come true because they ennoble us all.