Don’t get me wrong. Hell will freeze over before I would ever vote for Newt Gingrich. First, off the man was named for a lizard. Secondly–and more seriously–you can directly track the origins of the current polarization between the two major US political parties on Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker of the House.
And like every candidate in this the most mud-slinging president primary campaign in history, he has been made to look bad in a great many ways. It is hard for me and others to recognize what sometimes happens and that is good ideas come from bad people.
A few weeks back, Gingrich proposed that we build a space colony on the moon and that has been the subject of a great deal of ridicule. Comedians are still having their fun with that one and Tweeters still wonder what Gingrich was smoking.
But wait a minute. Forget who the source is. Think about the idea. We elected the current incumbent because we thought he had a vision for America, because his eloquence fooled us into thinking he could lead better than he has led. And among his early actions was to shut down NASA’s manned space program. Too expensive he said. These are tough times.
So a bunch of our nation’s brightest scientists got laid off and a whole supply chain of human’s got financially hurt in the name of this great frugality.
Years ago, a young visionary president who made great speeches was elected president. In his first, special address to Congress, in his first of three springtimes in office Jack Kennedy said, “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 in the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
And, as I recall, their was a landslide of comic parody, as well as editorial columns explaining why man could never walk on the moon and besides what would he do once he got there?
The answer, of course, is the reason people should walk on the moon is the same reason why humpback whales jump completely out of the ocean: Because they can.
It seems to me, that what makes us unique from other animals is that our entire history is based on going beyond what we have done. Before we consider the benefits or catastrophes, we simply have to see if we can do it.
Why should man walk on the moon? Because some day, we can build a colony on it? What will we do then? Look around and see what else we can do, where else we can go, we can learn more about the moon, and thus about the earth and our universe and how life got to here and anywhere else that it might exist.
And yes the cost is huge at a time when people are losing their homes. But to me, the cost is an investment, one that will create a great many new jobs that may be more appealing than the manufacturing our current president seems to be focused upon.
What we learn along the way will give the world new technology that is likely to pervade into computing, science, medecine, earth sciences, the classroom and places that we cannot yet imagine.
It seems to me that Newt’s Moon Colony is the only idea I’ve heard from any candidate for president, and what we need more than business managers, speechmakers and ideologues in the White House is someone with vision and leadership capabilities.
No I do not want Newt to be president. But I do think he should be commended–not ridiculed–for this idea which s entirely worthy of consideration and intelligent debate.