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From: David Tamm (e-mail him)
Is today's world all there is and all there ever will be?
These questions, characteristic of a middle age crisis, are being asked not only by those who remember that today is the 50th Anniversary of the Space Age, but also by those from a much wider scope: citizens who dream of an America returned to prosperity.
Americans have the uneasy feeling that things are getting worse and that politicians don't represent hope. We know real decline when we see it.
Some of this is a consequence of unregulated mass immigration that has stifled imagination.
Our national decline translates into loss of meaning, malaise and an overall emptiness. We no longer understand our country, its roots, and are therefore uncertain of our destiny.
Although we live in America, we are now less American than ever—again the fault in great part is immigration. That is why sadness washes over us—especially teachers like myself—when we think about America and her drifting young.
We need to recapture our republic's beautiful history: many peoples. Redefining of our national identity must be oriented to the future.
Fifty years ago, Sputnik1 roamed the night, and the Cosmic Era began. The space race between the U.S. and the Soviets was not only a competition but fulfilled a human need: to boldly go. For a brief moment we branched out into space, sending twelve to walk on the Moon.
The abandonment of venturing boldly into space and our national malaise coincide. There is nothing left that inspires, no ideas that capture our imagination.
It is time to bring back the greatest of ideas, the one that gives humanity something to live for again: Americans can rekindle their identity as a nation, and their connection with the infinite, through the conquest of space.
This return to the future would broaden our intellectual horizons and would remind us of our intellectual capacity. Outer space is a challenging place, but the Solar System is our patrimony. It is there for us.
Today we face a fork in the road. One path continues along our present road…an unacceptable choice to most Americans.
The alternate route—space exploration— alters our trajectory away from our decline into insignificance by using the American tradition to extend humanity and sapience to all the "coasts" of the interplanetary ocean.
There is no third way. Reaching Mars is cheaper than Iraq and countless other of our failed policies.
On this 50th Anniversary, the idea is exhilarating.
Tamm teaches history at Pasco-Hernando Community College and reading at Hudson High School, in Hudson, FL. To read more about space and civilization, go to Tamm's website here.