Monday, July 20, 2009

Moon Walk Anniversary and Obama's Restriction of Possibility

Though tempted not to admit my age, I was indeed alive 40 years ago for the historic moon walk. My only memory was being with my family gathered around our black-and-white TV set (or perhaps the scene itself was so starkly black and white that the contrast was all I recall), my dad telling us that this was history, and expecting to hear some kind of technical progress report. Instead, Neil Armstrong was well aware that his words would be repeated forever, and his "One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind" so startled me that even as a child I was moved to tears.

The national moon mania united everyone; the country was caught up in possibility. After all, if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can....fill in the blank. We anticipated a cure for cancer, an end to illiteracy, exploration of the stars. We, the youth, were especially empowered and told we could accomplish unimagined feats. Perhaps that moment fed into Boomers' arrogance. It was likely no coincidence that "the dawning of the age of Aquarius" centered on astrology, the owning of the cosmos.

A man on the moon seemed universally liberating; we humans were no longer confined to our planet, no longer restrained even by gravity.

Unfortunately, continued space programs proved less exciting. Scientists perhaps discovered significant facts and made important advances based on their space experiments, and certainly people ooh'd and ahh'd at photos from unmanned probes of other planets. But nothing compared with the thrill of man's first steps on the moon.

Forty years later, rather than expanding our liberties and increasing our freedoms with an attitude of unlimitedness, it seems legislators are now focused on contracting them. The contrast between "one giant leap" and the death of moon-walker Michael Jackson is striking: Neil Armstrong opened up life's potential; the passing of the singer emphasizes how the sphere is closing in.

Right now I'm feeling stressed and nearly depressed by Pres. Obama's push to restrict Americans to a nationalized health care plan, and to restrain their options by taxing them prohibitively to pay for it and his "stimulus" deficit that has now reached $1.1 trillion.

While the moon landing inspired Americans to push themselves to earn more and reach further, Obama's punitive taxes on the highly and moderately-successful inspire us to limit, or at least hide, the results of our labors. When the federal government can take nearly half of what you make, and state and sales and property and capital gains taxes leave you working three-quarters of your time for somebody else, you are, for that time, in bondage. You cannot claim what you work for; you are, in essence, working for the government, to pay for others' health care, foreign aid, and the 1,588 pages of earmarks in the stimulus package--whether you like it or not--under penalty of imprisonment.

Obama's stern imposition of his national health plan is a redeux of his strong-arm rushing of the stimulus package. With the hubris of one who's done it before, he's once again insistent that nobody read and consider the ramifications of his massive reshaping of policy and practice. This time, though, a growing wave of both legislators and citizens, on to his methods, are effectively shooting down his missile-like force. To hear the president on Friday sounding almost like an angry parent revealed to me that he's frustrated: "And that's why those who are betting against this happening this year are badly mistaken. We are going to get this done. We will reform health care. It will happen this year." Repeat after me: "it will happen this year," whether you like it or not. Don't stand in my way. I'm the president. If I want it, it happens.

And the Palestinians and Israelis could think over their issues carefully and then they'll be friends.

The simplistic liberal goal is to help everybody; that everyone is equally deserving. With that view, those who are wealthy, whose work is paid highly, earn their money not as a result of a marketplace where obviously their skills are more highly valued, but because some people (through a warped system or selfishly motivated aggressiveness) happen to unfairly get more money for their time while others (whose time is equally worthy) get less. So of course the wealthy should pay for the health care of everybody else.

On this anniversary of the first human footprints on the moon, I prefer to think about those days of heady possibility, when our thoughts were directed to the heavens. And I prefer to trust that the One who wants our focus to be heavenward will continue to guide our nation, as He has from the days of those whose yearning for liberty brought their footprints to the new world of North America.

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