(U-WIRE) – Walter Cronkite died Friday evening. He was 92. I think it’s fitting that the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moonwalk Monday is so close to Cronkite’s death.
Out of all the clips of Cronkite’s broadcasts shown over the past few days, the veteran journalist seems least inhibited during the now-famed broadcast of the lunar landing. Cronkite had even remarked that the Apollo 11 landing was the high point in his career because he was certain it would be the most important event of his lifetime. Unfortunately, it seems he was correct.
Before I go any further, I should mention that I am one of those jerks in every restaurant who mutters aloud, “We can put a man on the moon; you’d think they could make my chicken salad faster.” It’s true; I am an unrelenting Apollo program nut. I’ve always been enthralled by the whole romanticism of a nation’s leader setting an ambitious goal and then actually starting the process of meeting the goal. There had to have been something comforting about knowing hundreds of thousands of people were working on a collective objective to not only better their country but humanity as a whole.
I’m not that na’ve, though, and am aware that our reasons for going to the moon had more to do with beating the Soviets than inspiring a nation.
Still, we went to the moon! And we walked on it, too! We won the race to the moon, and in doing so we gained a more complete knowledge of the totality of our existence. I don’t think we’ve accomplished anything close to what we did since then. We certainly haven’t had a president since who’s challenged the nation the way President John F. Kennedy did with his bold promise. Kennedy offered us a new frontier, and for too long we haven’t searched the horizon for the next one.
Even now, when history has offered us yet another bold and young president, the chance to meet the line that divides a mediocre generation from a visionary generation is missed. Take for instance President Barack Obama’s and the now Super Majority Democratic Congress’ plan for combating global warming. Presently, a typical and hackneyed response has been thought up to fight what could very well be the most important threat of a generation.
Essentially, we’ve brought a knife to a gunfight. The knife? Cap and Trade policies, which according to the Copenhagen Consensus Center are promised to reduce 0.3 to 0.5 degrees by the year 2100 of what many believe will be a temperature increase from anywhere from 1 to 11.5 degrees. We’ve reveled in the mundane yet again and have failed to reach for a new frontier.
I am convinced, much as many of you are, that we desperately need another Apollo-like program to solve not just global warming but our dwindling energy supplies and broken health care and education systems as well. So far, nothing proposed out of Washington could have ever made Cronkite speechless, much the same way man’s journey into heaven’s orbit more than 40 years ago did. Visionary thinking is missing. Even when bold policy is announced, such as Obama’s health care and global warming directives, eventual legislation is watered down with tax cuts and pork barrel spending.
Maybe history will judge the moonwalk as an easier task than asking Congress to forget about running for re-election and pass meaningful legislation for once.