So there is a lot going on. I’ve been keeping consistent with my running, which is good. Even though I’m way over miles on my shoes, I have no idea when I’ll have money for a new pair, and honestly, I’m not even going to be able to cover rent this month. I’ll catch up and make good on the rent, but oh well.
But anyway, yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of my mom’s house burning down. So that gets me a little worked up. I mean overall, it worked out much better for her. The house needed a lot of work, so luckily it got done, even though it was super inconvenient and really stressful for a year. I’m a bit sad that I’m not in the US to have ice cream with my mom, as has become our tradition for today, ever since the fire. Because that’s what we did, the first night in the hotel the insurance company put us up in. We went to Dairy Queen and got Blizzards. So every July 16 now that’s what we do. We recognized today, and agreed when I go back we’ll get the Blizzards then.
The other thing is, today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. The first mission to land human beings on the face of another body in the solar system. It’s an amazing achievement and it gets me all sorts of worked up. Why you may ask? Is it the “triumph of the USA”, no. Is it the amazing technology and discoveries that came out of the Apollo program, no again. So what could it possibly be?
Well, think about it. With everything going on in the world at the time, the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam War, all those things, we still managed to work together to make something that seemed impossible just 10 years before a reality.
Hearing the roar of the Saturn V first stage as it lifts the rocket and all its components into the air gives me chills. It also gives me pause to reflect because of all that was going on at the time. Could you imagine how much faster, how much further we could have gone without all that strife surrounding these missions?
Think about this, and this is why I’m so vehement about treating people well. It’s the “Trekkie” in me. If say Donald John Trump and his dad weren’t denying people housing because of the color of their skin in the late sixties and early seventies how many of those children, given a stable home environment, would have gone on to careers in science and technology, advancing our exploration even further? Because someone like Rush Limbaugh told a little girl she had to play with Barbie instead of erector sets, what new design for a shuttle, or launch vehicle never happened? Because of the crushing poverty created by our system and the modern-day robber-barons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, who ironically both have space launch companies, how many poor children were denied the opportunity to study chemistry, or physics, and discover new fuels, materials, means of propulsion that could be taking us to the edge of the galaxy?
The argument is made that our system is what created the conditions to make our landing successful, that it was a victory of capitalism over communism. But I honestly believe we succeeded in spite of our system. Let’s explore this.
There have been countless people born (you’ve heard me say this a million times) who are smarter than Einstein, more talented pilots than Neil Armstrong, braver than Alan B. Sheppard, but we will never know who they are because of where they were born, who their parents are, what tax bracket they’re in, the color of their skin, what god they pray to, or who they love. Our system denies many more opportunities than it creates. When one of these opportunity arises we hold these people up, almost like pornography, to prove how great our system is. In reality, thousands, millions more people end up in obscurity because they do not have the freedom to truly pursue their passion. Everything has become a transaction and everything must profit, or it dies. But that just doesn’t work in the end. Eventually, everything is just profit, and there’s nothing else.
Think about this, even with space now, they’re not talking about finding the origins of the Universe, or seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no human has gone before, no. They talk about trillion dollar asteroids and figuring out how to profitably mine them. “Oh everyone will be rich,” they say. No they won’t, the capitalists will take the lion’s share. They’ll turn the mining operation into “unskilled labor” and demand that there’s no profit unless they’re allowed to pay starvation wages, and no oversight on the quality of the oxygen tanks.
That’s the world we live in today. That’s where we are 50 years after Apollo 11. We haven’t learned a thing, we’re still on our collision course with our own demise, and we’re still holding back so many millions of people all over the world.
But for a brief time, in the late 60s and early 70s, we showed what is possible, what humanity is capable of and how amazing this solar system, this galaxy could be, if we trashed the same old prejudices, pitfalls, and system that we’ve been been enforcing on the world for centuries.
No music today, listen to humanity roar!
Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!
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