Last evening, DB watched a documentary on the Apollo Space Program of the '60s and '70s. At it's start, I kept half an ear tuned in while working a jig-saw puzzle, then found myself drawn more and more over to the TV to hear what the Astronauts had to say.
This documentary was focused on the men of the Apollo program and what THEY went through and WHY they went through it. They talked about love of country and wanting to accomplish the task Kennedy laid before them: landing on the moon before 1970. They talked about national honor - landing on the moon before the Russians did. I just can't imagine what America was like then. (DB remembers it. Granted, he was 6. So his view is that of a 6 year-old. Spacemen and rockets and big yellow moons.) I was born in 1972 in a small town in Michigan and had NO idea any of this had happened/was happening. I didn't know about Apollo 13 until '95 when the movie came out - five years after graduation! Obviously, we talked about the moon landing in school but I sure as hell don't remember anything about Apollo 13.
Have you ever thought about what it would take, today, to pull this country together the way the Space Program did back then? Something that got - hopefully - the war protesters and draft-dodgers and bra-burners to lay down their placards and just be Americans concerned about a group of men undertaking an adventure that would change the world? What would it take to drawn Americans out of their homes, away from their TVs and computers and video games?
9/11 was only a brief respite from our state of consumerism and self-centeredness. We're right back where we were before 9/11 - except with longer lines at airport security and not enough Gulf War "Support Our Troops" sentiment (and who can fucking blame us? It's been YEARS for godsake. We support our troops, but showing that support 24/7 is fucking impossible. Even for Toby Keith.)
I worry for my country's future...but more importantly, perhaps, I worry about democracy. We don't value it like we used to. We take it for granted, often assuming someone else will care enough to tackle the tough issues. I'm guilty of it. And I'm ashamed of myself for it.
OK. Enough of the maudlin shit for what was and what will never be again.
It's Sunday evening and I've just missed AFV. Which is a lot of fun to watch under the influence of alcohol. Which I am. Which probably explains the disconnectedness of this post.
By the way, don't email me about the War On Terror. I will add your email addy to every spam email list I can find.