President George W. Bush Jr. is now pushing for a new manned space program.
This really puts me in a bind. My feelings about Bush (“Dubblya” to his friends) are akin to those I had regarding Reagan in the early years. Fear, anger, frustration and amazement. Warfare, “evil empire” type hawkish statements, and huge growth in military spending…where could this all lead.
Yet, ultimately, my feelings about Ronald Reagan changed. He became chummy with the then-USSR. The Berlin wall fell. The Cold War ended peacefully. And arguably, at least some of that result can be attributed to President Reagan.
And now Bush wants to put people back in space in a big way….
Human space exploration is, to me, pretty much the most important thing on my “list”. Yes, we must not “foul our nest”, but failure of humanity to make its way into space would be a terrible failure and a loss to the human spirit of unmeasurable magnitude. To me, if we give up on exploration, on making our way to other planets, on going “to the next horizon”, its tantamount to a declaration of the end of our civilization. Balance in all things, as they say, but here is where my balance tilts. I can accept gradual, sustained improvement in health, poverty, peace, the environment…but I can not accept this from space exploration. We have to get a move on…
So, Bush’s push to put a permanent manned base on the Moon as a stepping stone to getting to Mars…well, it was exactly what I wanted to hear from a President. Unfortunately, its something I expected to hear from a President I at least *respected*, if not liked.
Maybe this is all political grandstanding. Maybe its all about filling the pockets of his big corporate buddies. Or maybe, just maybe, Bush isn’t the complete ignoramus I take him to be. Either way, if it gets us back into space in a big way, I’m for it. Good job, Dubblya: now, if you can just prove that some of your other actions aren’t as stupid as I took them to be…