It’s Time To Prove Ourselves Again

We’re now only months away from the forty year anniversary of Man’s greatest achievement: the landing of two men on the surface of the moon. Until that time, Mankind had spent almost it’s entire history suffering under the delusion of being the powerless ’pets’ of supernatural beings who seemed to have nothing better to do that to meddle in human affairs. Somehow, we seemed to live at the center of a universe that was at once terrifying and unknowable. Gradually, and with great resistance from the fearful masses, we came to the more realistic view of ourselves as insignificant beings living on an insignificant planet in a universe that was vast beyond our wildest imaginations. We also came to realize that we weren’t so powerless after all, and the ultimate proof of that was our landings on the moon.

Unfortunately, our great successes has lead us to make the arrogant assumption that we have nothing left to prove – that we now stand alone as the masters of our reality and divorced from any dependence upon it. How wrong that assumption has proven to be as clearly evidenced by the state of the environment that we, and every other form of life we know of, must live in. While it’s certainly true that we have made great scientific strides in areas like technology and medicine in the years since, the fact that we have done so in such an irresponsible manner have all but undone the surge in confidence the moon landings gave us. And the current economic crisis is threatening to become the grave marker for all our dreams.

Indeed, the problems we now face appear to be coming from too many directions to face head on and so many of them seem to have the potential to overwhelm us by themselves, that we ironically find ourselves once again feeling powerless amidst an unknowable universe. But the truth is that, just as in the past, we are not powerless. We are not helpless. We are simply unfocused. Maybe that’s what President Kennedy saw in the early sixties. Remember, those were hard and frightening times too. Maybe he knew that all we needed was a great challenge to overcome to restore our confidence and prove to ourselves that we can overcome great obstacles. And maybe, just maybe, that’s all we need today.

But what challenge could we undertake to get those creative juices flowing again? What obstacle can we conquer that is both realistically achievable and spiritually fulfilling enough to grab the hearts of Mankind? I believe that we can overcome all of our troubles if we have to time to do so, but there is one problem that, if not solved quickly enough, threatens to rob us of the time we need to solve any of the others. And that is the disaster we have made of our environment. Oh I know that this is such a huge an nebulous problem, and I’ve heard all the arguments that seem to be at odds with each other. But the fact is that our dependence on fossil fuels lies at the heart of just about every environmental issue, and that is absolutely something we can do something about.

I believe that President Obama should use the anniversary of Man’s landing on the moon to challenge this nation to become completely independent of fossil fuels by the end of the next decade. Sure, a lot of people will scream that he is crazy and that it can’t be done, but people said the same things when President Kennedy challenged us to go to the moon. And let’s not forget all of the other great developments that came about as the result of achieving that impossible dream. The possibilities are endless from this one as well.

We are literally standing on the brink of the end of civilization as we know it. It’s up to us to decide what kind of future we want and what kind of future we deserve. It’s time to prove ourselves again.

I want ice water

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11 thoughts on “It’s Time To Prove Ourselves Again

  1. Thanks, I need the encouragement. I’m Embarrassed to say that I don’t know another way to communicate with you, but I have a few thoughts on improving my blog’s appearance. And after seeing yours, I’m overwhelmed with other ideas as well. To start, I’d like to give the template more of a “hell on earth’ appearance, since that’s what I’m trying to address. There’s so much I want to learn about this stuff, but I have limited resources, old hardware, and an old OS, so studying on-line is too tedious. Give me a way to contact you, so we can communicate more.

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  2. Hmm…. Seems like I have been advocating this: “challenge this nation to become completely independent of fossil fuels by the end of the next decade.” for the almost decade since Sept. 11, 2001. If I remember correctly I have heard in the last two presidential elections rhetorical references to a new ‘manhattan project’ for just this purpose … and I don’t see it yet. We have seen more money go to entrepreneurial enterprises and ‘green energy projects, but, it seems to me that it is the government that would be the only entity that would be able to sustain the cost needed for such an endeavor. And, I would rather put all the money proposed for ‘health care reform’ to this … short term, maybe not so good, but, long term the benefits would be almost unlimited.
    Another sad thing about this whole thing is that it is ‘we’ who were part of that generation who grew up with Kennedys challenge … and as Ollie used to say “Here’s another fine mess you’ve got us into”!!!

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    • I thought that Obama was the one who could inspire the country to actually get serious about this because of the apparent “epoch change” represented by his election – the same thing that was felt when JFK was elected. One very big difference between the two administrations, though, is that JFK had the backing of a powerful VP like LBJ.

      Looking at it again, I realize that it was actually LBJ that that was the real mover and shaker back then. The fact that he was able to drag the country so willingly into the quagmire of Vietnam, on top of all the “great society” stuff, stands as a clear testament to how much power he wielded. But I maintain that none of that would have happened without the inspiration of JFK’s moon landing vision to get it going.

      I know that many think that the “great society” stuff was just as poorly thought out as our Vietnam policy, but I can’t help but wonder what we could have done without the specter of Vietnam clouding the issues. 😕

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      • Without the specter of Vietnam we probably would not have had to deal with Nixon ..
        And you are right .. LBJ had been in the senate quite sometime .. knew all the backrooms needed to make the deals .. and who the deal makers were whether inside or outside ‘the loop’.
        I just don’t think Obama has ‘it’ … per Kennedy .. to really challenge the country. We were in the midst of a ‘cold war’, but, we were also in the midst of a economic boom the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the twenties. They say FDR was great .. but he didn’t get us out of the Depression .. WWII did that.
        Ed

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        • You’re absolutely right! But it wasn’t the facts that inspired folks to follow Kennedy’s vision. That was entirely a function of his charisma. My mistake was thinking that Obama being treating like he was the second coming meant that he could have the same kind of charismatic influence. Maybe he could have. Maybe he still will. JFK fumbled around for a bit too. But as of this moment, I no longer see it happening with Obama.

          Mind you that, after all is said and done, this is all just so much “magical” thinking. A nation filled with rationally thinking people don’t need a messianic figure to inspire them to do what’s in their own best interest. In the end, those are the only folks who deserve a better tomorrow. 😐

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  3. Two things: 1) it could be said that WWII ended the Depression. Think about it; it was still a massive jobs program only the money was paid to private industry to build war material. Previous to that it was pretty much ‘make work’ stuff, ie, the WPA.

    The Kennedy / Obama thing: Can’t quite put my finger on it … but, Kennedy inspired by means of charisma and by being a man …. Obama inspires the way a preacher does … the difference in feeling is tremendous.
    Ed

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  4. It’s hard to get a handle on it from this far away. It seems to me that the people who can afford higher prices don’t seem to care with a few exceptions. Those exceptions have a social conscience and want to make the world better. Kennedy was an exceptional man and the world has not seen his like since. Had he not met such a sad end, I firmly believe such things as electric cars and solar power would be much further advanced than is currently the case. Only today we heard the New South Wales government here in Australia has reduced the feed-in tarrif for those selling their solar power back to the grid as well as reducing the solar power installation incentives. The conservatives just don’t seem to get it. The previous federal government didn’t believe climate change was real until the few months leading to the election they lost. They said fighting climate change would be too costly! Can you believe it?

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    • Personally, I don’t think that it’s non-belief in climate change that’s keeping them from supporting greener technologies. Hell, having to deal with people who hate us to get our oil would be enough if that were the case! They’re afraid of losing the power that support from the oil companies gives them, and they won’t get behind green technologies until they’ve found a way to insure that those same companies can make as much money from the new stuff as they have from the old. Bean counters are very risk aversive! 😐

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