Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The American Dream

In 1961 a young president said, "...I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
He did not live to see that day, but on July 20, 1969, at 20:18 UTC, we landed on the moon and those courageous astronauts returned safely. How could that happen? In 1961 we were barely able to get an unmanned rocket launched without exploding. And yet, over the next decade an entire nation supported the notion of landing on the moon - no matter how difficult or expensive. And we actually did it. (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists who think it was all staged but that's another blog.)
How did we accomplish this impossible and monumental task?
 It wasn't a liberal goal or a conservative goal. It was an American goal. The liberals embraced the dream. The conservatives overcame the dangers that could derail the dream. We worked together.
Science has confirmed that liberals and conservatives truly think - see - differently. At the extremes, liberals see the possibilities and overlook the risks while conservatives see the risks and put the brakes on unless they can overcome the risks. If we did not have people focused on overcoming the risks, we would never have made it to the moon and back. We need each other!
What is missing today is the unified goal of overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge. The unified commitment - the determination to solve a huge challenge - is where we failing. The moment there is resistance, we start name calling. We need the dreamers. We need the gate keepers who focus on the dangers that lurk under the radar that can DE-rail the dream. Then we need to unify our efforts to make the dream happen.
To me, that is the American way. That is the American dream.

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