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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Erosion

Bald River Falls

Last night, after supper, we all sat down to watch "When We Left Earth," a multi-part documentary about the space race.  It was the one called, "Ordinary Superman," the first in the series, about the 7 men selected to be the first to sit on the top of a missile and go hurling off into space.  Dr. SmartyPants had DVR'd them a while back and we finally had a chance to see this one.  (He's a total space program geek - it's so cute.)

Anyhow - they show a scene where thousands of people had gathered on Cocoa Beach to watch Alan Shepard become the first American in space.  As the missile goes up, the camera pans across the faces of these folks and shows every range of emotion possible - shock, wonder, fear, amazement - and the voice over of a reporter who was on the scene describes people dropping to their knees to pray for this man as if he were their own son. 

That scene was played out again and again as Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, and Gordon Cooper made their historical flights.  They were greeted, upon their returns, as heroes.  Children wanted to grow up to be like them.  Parents wished their children would grow up to be like them. 

The American public retained this sense of wonder about them.

Now, the American public venerates hotel-heiresses and their couture-wearing accessory dogs.  The nightly news is filled with stories of which celebrity is in rehab or was in rehab or is coming out of rehab or is thinking about maybe possibly going into rehab.  We buy video games that celebrate the wanton destruction of human life.  We idolize football players and basketball players and baseball players more than police officers and firefighters and EMTs.

The whole thing is upside down.

I don't really have a point, by the way.  I'm just frustrated.  I'm frustrated that my boys have no role models equal to the Mercury 7.  No - they have Zach and freakin' Cody.  I hate them.  I'm frustrated that we've become a nation of whiny, entitlement-minded, spoiled brats who can't even begin to imagine what the word "sacrifice" means. 

I'm frustrated because I have never done anything to change that - watching it happen while sitting on my comfortable sofa and complaining that I don't care what Madonna's divorce is all about.

Dang.

Now I'm going to be in a pissy mood all day.