The Last Shuttle

Sitting in the heat of Cape Canaveral, waiting for the final launch, I didn’t understand why I would be thinking of Mayan ruins in the jungle of Cozumel, and the unfortunate legacy of Howard Zinn

July 8, 2011 11:26am

They’ve been doing it for a while, from the beginning, many launches ago, thousands upon thousands of people from all over the country, all over the world, spending hours in traffic, baking in the sun, often disappointed by delays or cancellations or reschedulings, all to experience first-hand the thirty seconds, maybe a minute, depending on the clouds, of the lift-off, up close, as close as you can get, and how close that is will be determined by how lucky you were with getting a ticket (and the very closest of all is at the Turn Basin, three miles from the pad, which is where we were), or finding a catch-as-catch-can space to park along the highway, one where a fortuitous break in the trees or a slight rise allows you to actually see the platform and the rocket in repose, ready to go.  It can take you five hours in stop-and-go traffic to crawl your way across the causeway and get in, and the same to get out, and if they wonder if it’s worth it on the way in, no one wonders on the way out.

©2011, R Michael Stuckey

I never did go to a launch, not down there, even though I live only a hundred and fifty miles north of Cape Canaveral, but, still, at the appointed time we would go out to the beach and watch the tiny speck of the after-burners, far off to the south, as it pierced through the sky and then galloped off along its path to orbit and to history, and every time, as you walked back up the dunes, you’d shake your head and smile a bit and think to yourself, “Wow, that was really something.”

But this time, for this last one, I was there, steeling myself against disappointment since they were allowing only a 30% percent chance that the weather would permit a “go”; but we were there by the thousands in our folding chairs and with our water coolers and optimism. We chose to see the glass as 30% full and didn’t want to miss it, this last one, so we were there, just in case, and most of us knew that if it got scrubbed, we’d come back whenever they were going to try again, because this is the last one, and it’s that spectacular, it really is, in a way that you can’t know, you simply can’t know, unless you’re there, in person, right there.

While it was still cloudy it was pleasant, but when the sun broke through, which is of course what we were all hoping for because it indicated that maybe that 30% chance was enough of a chance, it got hot and sticky and uncomfortable quickly. I sat with my binoculars, and we listened to the voice coming from the speakers that were all around us, a practiced, authoritative voice telling us what was happening at that particular moment with this valve or that valve, this procedure or that; and it all seemed splendidly competent, and maybe the American flags in profusion and the memory of everything that went before, including listening on my transistor radio when I was in Junior High school as Alan Shepard made the very first jump into outer space in Freedom 7, so basic a space effort that he didn’t even go around the whole earth, not even once, but it was glorious beyond imagining– maybe it was all that and maybe other things, too, but you could feel it in your chest and as a lump in your throat, and what it was, what it felt like, was pride, in a very uncomplicated way.

We sat and waited with growing excitement, and, even with that, I was surprised at what I found myself thinking about, as I sat in my lawn chair and waited for what imight be the greatest thing mankind has ever produced to take off, surprised that my thoughts went where they did, to a memory.

It was a memory of a jungle in the middle of the island of Cozumel, Mexico.

I was working hard at the time, never took vacations, but was convinced by an old friend to spend a week there with him and his wife.

I wasn’t much for lying on the beach, especially with this fellow’s wife, who was a sociology professor who knew almost as much as she thought she knew and who would eventually leave him, contemptuously and with what I felt was unseemly relish, for a student, and my friend could never really tell me whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, or a better thing or a worse thing, or an easier thing or a less easy thing– that the student was a woman.  So I rented an open-air jeep and spent the days careering along Cozumel’s dirt highways, exploring the smallest nooks I could find, and the smallest crannies, hopeful, actually, that I could get lost along the way and have an adventure of some sort. My friend had long standing Indiana Jones fantasies and was beside himself with eagerness to accompany me in the jeep, just one day exploring, maybe, not all days, he explained to his wife; but she refused to let him go by saying that she really didn’t think that was a good idea, which was code for “I will make you suffer if you do that.” And so he lay miserable on the beach reading reports of the “Land Cruiser Wars” in Africa and from time to time slathering tanning lotion on her expansive back, while I made my escape, knowing that Cozumel’s natural limitations as an island would save me from straying beyond any point of no return.

There are Mayan ruins on Cozumel, quite a few of them, and some are excavated and stand as lackadaisically monitored tourist areas, while others, unexcavated, are scattered about in more difficult to find locales, and completely unattended and often unmarked. There was one, I was told, that you could find if you go down there, and then turn left at the tree, and go a few miles past this spot or that, and look for a dirt path by the so-and-so, if it hasn’t gotten overgrown, and then you can walk down that path for about twenty minutes, and if you pay attention as you go, you can begin to see the ruins, but you need to look hard, because it’s jungle and its full of growth, but they’re there, I was told…

So I bounced around in my jeep and tried to follow the directions and looked hard and made a few false turns, but eventually found the path, or what I thought to be the path, so I parked my jeep and walked into the jungle in the middle of the island of Cozumel.

Mostly it was very quiet, at first, until you began to notice the occasional yawping of birds, the buzz of insects, and the rustle of a lizard now and then. It was hot and humid and fetid and smelled of moss and wet, but new to me and different and intriguing, and as I walked in further and further I felt my heart beating a little faster and my breath got a little more shallow, and I realized that I was experiencing a jungle in pretty much the same way that people for thousands of years had experienced it, and every step took me a little farther away from anything I understood, from anything that felt familiar or even safe.

I looked carefully for signs of ruins as I made my way deeper and deeper.

Then I saw some rocks piled together here and there, two here, four there, overgrown, but still, you could tell, or sense, that these rocks weren’t the random formations of nature; they had been placed there like that: Intelligent design, if you will, of the most rudimentary sort. I walked further and began to see more signs, and then, clearly and unmistakably, remnants of structures:  Two rock walls, or what was left of them, at right angles; then other telltale signs. This was inhabited, sometime, a very long time ago, and I began to try to imagine what it would be like to be in this place if it was all I knew, and if I knew nothing about much else, not even about what happened in the world before I got here, and certainly nothing after, none of those things that would come, the events, the changes, the knowledge; and I thought to myself that this place is scary for me, even though the largest part of me knows I’m safe, that there are things nearby that are modern and familiar, and how it would be much scarier if I didn’t know any of that, if I had been here when this wall was built as protection and shelter against a world that I did not and could not know anything about, not yet.

It was dark and shadowy under the jungle canopy, but as I explored, the sky got even darker and the wind began to gather, and I realized a storm was coming, rapidly closing in. It began to rain large, heavy drops that pierced through the rooftop vegetation, and so now there was the pleasant, familiar sound of rain on leaves. I guessed that it would be a short, passing squall, so I found a part of the ruins that had some heavy growth overhead, creating something of a lean-to effect, and I crouched underneath it, my back against the age-old stone wall, to wait it out.

It got darker and the rain came harder and suddenly there was an eruption of thunder so close and so loud that it felt like a punch to my chest at the same time someone yanked at my shoulders, and the sky lit up and a jolt of adrenaline surged through me, and I thought to myself that I could very easily die here, and if I do, they might find me eventually, if they locate the jeep, but they won’t find me soon, and this was suddenly not a good thing, not a good situation.

It was a furious storm, thunderclap after thunderclap, lightning strikes coming arythmically but frequently, drenching rain, and a sense of being surrounded and squeezed and, somehow, targeted.

Surprisingly, ‘though, I was dry under my lean-to, and soon I began to realize that even though I was very much in the vortex of all this, no, I probably wasn’t going to die, and my breathing slowed, and my thoughts stopped racing and, instead, I found myself thinking again about how the people who built this wall, those people, long ago, whose hands created the wall and the hard contours I felt against my back, whenever it was that they built it, they, too, like me, now, experienced similar storms, then, in this jungle, in this place, by this wall, but unlike me, they had no idea at all what was causing it, what it was about or what the implications were.  So I asked myself, what if I didn’t know?  What if I had never heard of Benjamin Franklin and keys on kites and lightning bolts and electricity and how that fits in with thunderclaps and rain, and how it’s all quite explainable.  What if I didn’t know any of that?

I think in that case I would be frightened by this storm beyond imagining, and it would make perfect sense to wonder what angry Gods had been disturbed, and to question whether it had been I or something I had done, some transgression of some sort, that fomented this unimaginable and inexplicable fury, and, perhaps more importantly, was there anything I could do, some atonmenent, to make it stop?

As I crouched by the wall and flinched with each thunderclap, I understood easily that if you had no real explanation for this noise and these paroxysms of flashing, frenzied light, then it is not at all unreasonable to adopt that very assumption, that the gods were angry or that they required some appeasement like human sacrifices, but whatever it was, whatever it was that they thought, these wall builders of eons ago, whatever they attributed this terrifying chaos to, they had to make that attribution without the benefit of any understanding at all about what was going on, scientifically, and why it was happening, except that they undoubtedly believed that it was the way the world was supposed to work, for whatever reason, and that so much of it, so very much of that world, at that time, was utterly beyond their control.  It was very clear to me, viscerally so, to a degree it had never been clear to me before, that the less you know, the more you must respect those implications, those unknown implications, and I understood why there would be a compelling, consuming drive to turn your powerlessness into something less than that, even if it required that you send your neighbor down a well, or, perhaps, thousands of them.

On the other hand, I don’t think they were stupid:  Naïve and ignorant—and by that I mean not that they were willingly unlearned from laziness or indolence, but, rather, that there was no body of knowledge, yet, from which to draw, no tapestry of information to which to apply an integrating intellect, but not a lack of brainpower or curiosity or the will to move forward, to move out, to move beyond.

Knowledge, understanding and insight would come, as the years and eons and ages would pass, and as one bit of agreed-upon truth and science would be added to the ones that came before.  The capability towards which this human intellect could be deployed would develop in ways that would astonish the people who built this wall, in this jungle, in this place, at that time.  It would astonish and confound them, if they had the ability to look forward, all the way forward, maybe, to Cape Canaveral and the Last Shuttle Launch, and I wonder if they would know that it was their existence and their thoughts and their wall and their forward movement that in some infinitesimal way provided a brick on that path, and that path led to many places, including to this place in Cape Canaveral on June 8th of the year 2011 and the launching of the last American shuttle at 11:26 in the morning.

And here’s what else I wonder, or, more accurately, what I found myself wondering afterwards, after the ground shook and the resplendent and majestic machine was propelled on its way by no less than 525,000 gallons of fuel: I wondered how far we have come from that rock wall in Cozumel, and whether there is a line to be drawn, a line with a beginning and an end, where that rock wall is somewhere near one end of it and this launch is somewhere near the other, and, maybe there wasn’t all that much before the wall, at least not much to speak of, and maybe there won’t be that much after this launch– but what if that is not the case?

What if this launch today in 2011 is just like that wall, at least in this respect:  That in a thousand years someone will think of this launch the way I think of that wall.

The rocket is gone, but the massive smoke trail seems frozen and unmoving.  We know it will drift apart and away before too long, but for now, at this moment, it seems as if it will never dissipate, and in the middle of it, this rocket trail, in the middle there is an other-wordly golden glow created by residual fuel, still burning, long after the ship has passed; and it is quiet, but just, every once in a while, a bird yawping, and you wonder if this beautiful Florida sky is any different, really, from the jungle canopy, and will the day come when these marvelous engineers and astronauts and dreamers and workers and everymen and women who have found ways to make these things happen, will they one day be looked back upon and thought of as naïve and ignorant and quaint in their beliefs, and what then, at that time, will they think of God, and what will be the thunderclaps and lightning bolts, and in what way, then, will they find to make living possible despite the surrounding presence, everywhere, of the terrifying unknowns and perceived unknowables, like thunderclaps in the jungle that clamor for an explanation, or the minds of others that we can’t understand when some of those minds can arrive at a best-option conclusion that involves strapping bombs onto their children and sending them in to anhiliate strangers in pizza parlors.  And other things.

The shuttle program has contemplated its own end for some time.  No one expected this particular program to go on forever, and there have been problems, some of them ghastly, the kind that make you admire all the more the courage of those who strap themselves in.  No one thought it would go on forever, but the belief was that while the particular would end, the whole would not, that a similar vision to that which began the program in the Sixties and which has been embraced by so many Americans and others and which has been informed and energized by some ineffible and indescrible things–  that a similar vision would prevail, propelled by the same yearnings and pride and wonderment, deeming the “NASA Space Program”, in whatever shape that vision would take it, essential to nourish and support, even if it is unclear, exactly, what it means now and what it might mean ultimately, but that it is good and it is hopeful and it is magnificent and–  don’t  let anyone hear you say this:  Quintessentially and historically American, and that having something be just that– quintessentially and historically American, is a good thing.

They should not be ending this, this space program, but they are doing so for the worst possible reasons, and there will be a price to be paid, but, in the end, that exchange might be zero-sum: What we lose will be gained by others, and I flash on the ending scene of Casablaca as Bogie says, “If  you don’t get on that plane,  you’re going to regret it.  Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life…”

We look in certain places, to certain people, for the vision that we can deem sound and honorable, and if we believe that vision is propelled by good things and values similar to our own,  then we will follow it even if it is something other than what we would have wished.

But if the person who is supposed to supply that vision does not do so, or if that person doesn’t understand or perceive the need  for that vision, or if,  even worse–  worst of all– if the goal is to alter the vision entirely in order to create an  alternate one, or obliterate it in order to leave nothing in its place, then trust in that leadership, by those who disagree, is also obliterated, and the only thing left to fill the vacuum is resentment and despair.

This may be why, thinking of this, after the launch, I had the other thought that I will mention here:

I started off liking Barrack Obama but disliking his policies and his worldview. There came a time, as things occurred, that I began to dislike not only his policies, his politics, and his tactics, but him:  His style, his manner and what I perceive to be his inauthenticity.  But it was here, at this last Shuttle launch, filled with wonder and awe and pride, knowing it was the last, knowing it would end and that no future vision of any real substance for NASA has been provided, knowing the reasons—that dislike turned, irredeemably, to detestation– not of Obama, although, that, too, but of Howard Zinn, whose teachings almost certainly contributed mightily to Obama’s worldview, and whose… vision,  makes it all quite explainable, of no less tragic.

And I think to myself that if somewhere, somehow, in some kind of cosmic wonderland, the guy who built that wall in the jungle of Cozumel is looking down and seeing this event and is filled, too, certainly, with wonderment, and as he contemplates that this is the last one, at least for these Americans, and as he mulls over the reasons this is so, he is pondering, I’m certain of it, when it was, just when, that this magnificent people of this extraordinary country, when was it, exactly, that they became fools?

***

There’s no good answer to that question, but I’m pretty sure Howard Zinn had something to do with it.

I have a friend who has worked for NASA, either directly or via employment by Lockheed Martin, for eighteen years. He does one of the thousands of jobs, tens of thousands, actually, that you rarely hear about, that must be done not only well, but perfectly, for everything to go as it should, and he, like those he has worked with, has always taken pride in being a part of something that is important, that is bigger than each of them, that means something and might even be talked about as long as records and histories are kept, and it’s a pride he can’t quite describe, that’s how special and deep and sweet it is.

© 2011, R Michael Stuckey

He is in his fifties and he, like almost every single one of them, will be losing his job as the program ends. He is frightened, of course, for his future and that of his family, but, more than that, he is bewildered. He is bewildered by not only the broad brush strokes, the program ending and gone, but by the little things, too, like the time a year ago when everyone at NASA was excited that President Obama was coming for an important visit, one in which he was going to give a major speech about the future he saw for NASA, and they all hoped, beyond anything else, that it wouldn’t have much to do with the despised SpaceX, the privatized version of NASA-lite, or, as they would say, the cut-rate, bargain basement, tinker toy version, the one started by Elon Musk, the fellow who made gazillions on PayPal, and the guy who doesn’t seem to have all that much going for himself, Space-wise, other than having made very large contributions to Barrack Obama’s campaign war chest. Yes, they all hoped it would have nothing much, nothing at all, to do with SpaceX, and each of them had a secret wish that maybe the President would have an announcement, that it has been decided that, no, things won’t end, that the program, this one, or one like it or at least something, some program that would keep them working and employed and supporting their families– would continue.  They knew that such a hope was naïve, unlikely, but still, they remembered, every one of them remembered, that back in 2008, presidential candidate Barrack Obama assured them all, all these dedicated NASA workers, that if they voted for him, he would have their backs, job-wise.  Every one would tell you that’s what he said, that’s exactly what he said.

And so the President’s plane landed and instead of stopping to say something to the NASA workers, and as those dispirited workers watched the motorcade, his car slowly circled around to the exit… and left, never stopping at all, heading straight for SpaceX.

Eventually he did make a  formal speech “to NASA”, but hardly anyone from NASA, with the exception of a few hand-picked Obama appointees at the highest level, was allowed to go to that, either. Instead, the “NASA” audience was filled with a reliable claque of Obama supporters imported from Washington for the occasion.  But they saw tapes of the speech, or read the transcript, and they heard and saw all the upbeat statements; but once you stripped away the politicized rhetoric, and once you got to the truth of it and beyond all the references to himself, you knew, they knew, that for them, it was over.

It wasn’t so much that they resented it, which, of course, they did, profoundly, but, rather, something more hurtful than that. These thousands of workers, of contributors, of believers in the greatness of the program and the country, their country, that produced it, felt trivialized, invisible.

They were bewildered by the big things and bewildered by the small things, and it is incomprehensible to them that America would allow this integral part of what they perceive as making American great and demonstrating that greatness to the world in a positive, decent and unique way—would be allowed to simply die, and to die from neglect and abandonment, or to reward  a campaign contributor, or, for that matter, for any reason at all.  It was, to them, flat-out incomprehensible.  We’ll pay the Russians to ferry our astronauts around, it was decided, and for these people who had worked this program for thirty years such a statement was, even beyond everything else, even beyond infuriating, it was just flat-out insulting, and not just insulting to them, the workers, insulting, in some important way– and even more unforgivably– insulting to America.  Coming from someone else, some economist, say, or some cost control guy or cost/benefit analyst who can’t be expected to take into account the things you can’t write down on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet, well,  it would be bad enough.  But coming from the President of the United States it was, to them, incomprehensible and bewildering and dreadful.

* * *

But I don’t find in incomprehensible, and I’m not bewildered by any of it, and the only thing you have to know about in order to understand it and to have it fall neatly onto a soft cushion of complete, logical sense—is Howard Zinn, and to be aware of the influence he has had, and the influence of people who have been influenced by him have had, on everything American, including the President of the United States.

That’s right, Howard Zinn.  Speaking of direct lines, there will be one that leads straight from Howard Zinn to the grass and weeds that will grow in the cracks of the concrete on the NASA launchpad, and the only thing you can be absolutely sure of is that Howard Zinn would consider that a good thing.

Howard Zinn’s greatest achievement was not the book itself, A People’s History of the United States, published first in 1980, but that somehow he managed—or, maybe, more accurately, those who loved him and agreed with him managed—to have it become the standard received wisdom of the Amercan education system when it came to teaching American history and contextualizing that history within a broad-based global overview.

Much has been written about the book—over two million copies have been sold, with countless pass-alongs from student to student, and as of this date it still ranks #712 on the Amazon.com best seller list thirty years after its publication—so I won’t do that here, but if you are unaware of it, you should know that it is 768 pages of unremitting condemnation of everything “American”, advancing the idea that anything positive one might hear or believe about anything America has ever done exists as a mistaken idea implanted purposefully by the white, paternalistic, Western European, racist, greedy capitalist corporate elite, who nonetheless control absolutely everything, and who are characterized by relentless bellicosity, mendacity, rapaciousness and immorality. America’s true history can be correctly illuminated only if one meticulously discards the false narrative deviously promulgated over the years by the privileged elite, and understands this same history, instead, as a never-ending, blood-thirsty quest by America’s Corporate chieftains to engulf and enslave not only the rest of the world, but its own people as well. The only “good” people in the United States were Native Americans, slaves and union workers who fought, and continue to fight, an heroic struggle against these self-same corporate greed-heads, and who, by that fight, align themselves properly not with the American super-structure, but, rather, with fellow workers and others of the oppressed, throughout the globe, with the overwhelming preponderance of that oppression being rightfully laid at the feet of the worst oppressors of all, the American Corporate Elite.

You think I’m exaggerating?

You can get a sense of it quicky, just a peak, a flavor if it, this Howard Zinn worldview, in the following short movie, with narration written by Zinn himself, and as you watch this, remember that this man, in this video, with these attitudes, has had more influence on the understanding of American history by American students, from top to bottom, than anyone else in the last thirty years.  Even if teachers don’t use Zinn’s book as a textbook, they, themselves, have derived their own understandings from it during their own educataion, and his work has not been presented as an alternative view, it has been presented as the primary view, and often the only view.

View a special video presentation from Howard Zinn

Get it?

According to Zinn and his acolytes– now once, twice and three times removed–  America has never, ever done anything “good”, and if you see something that appears to be otherwise, it is only because you have not understood the underlying rationale, the context, the “wolf-in-sheeps-clothing” aspect of it.

Zinn crafted a professorial persona, never failing to voice his own mea culpas for being a bombardier in WWII, ruing the fact that he didn’t know then—since he, too, was seduced by the false histories promulgated self-servingly by the corporate elite—what he now knows, which was that he was nothing more than a pawn in the American global chess game, an unwitting abettor of America’s thirst for undeserved, unearned, stolen riches.  Zinn is deft at placing it all in a pseudo-recondite wrapping, thereby masquerading what is in reality a rather simplistic effusion of what has become known as the hate-America-first approach to the explanation of everything.

Now, understand this:

It is impossible to overstate the influence of this relentlessly negative interpretation of the United States on the core belief systems of the most educated citizens America today– many of whom have risen to positions of extreme influence– especially those who grew up on it, people like Barrack Obama. Their primary belief is that the goal of any right-thinking citizen of the world is not to aggrandize America, not to enhance it, not to support it—it is to stop it, if “it” is defined as everything American has stood for, according to this view, which is tyranny, colonialism, greed and the unbridled and self-serving weilding of unearned and undeserved and quite dangerous power that it should have been stripped of long ago. Americans—at least the union workers and the poor and impoverished and those in “marginalized” and oppressed constituencies too numerous to mention—are good, but utterly without power; but America is bad, because it has always been in the choke hold of the small group of white, male, Western European, capitalist oppressors, who keep all the power to themselves for the purposes of subjugating everyone else, here and elsewhere.

Every event in American History is hammered into whatever shape is required to support this view; every event that cannot be so shaped, is ignored.  All motivations of the corporate elite are venal, self-serving and triumphal, all motivations of the marginalized minorities, the “workers”, are noble, heroic and tragic.

Put another way, if you want to know what America is about, it’s about this:

Conquering people and taking their stuff.

Period.

Never mind that Oscar Handlin, one of the most universally respected scholars of American history has systematically dismantled Zinn’s work, pointing out untruth after untruth, falshood after falshood, half-truth after half-truth, critical omission after critical omission, and that many other highly regarded scholars have shown in great depth and detail how the totality of the work quite purposely propagandizes a grotesquely distorted, narrowly focused and one-sided view of America that can and does provide comfort and validation to those who, for whatever reaons and for various reasons, want to see America as thoroughly evil–  these people being around the world (the book has been translated into many languages) and at home, with academia being their primary bastion.

The 60′s tenured radicals who dominate our education system found Zinn’s book and fell in love with it and with him, and as they have taken over almost all aspects of America’s education system over the last thirty years, they have brought Zinn and his venemous anti-American attitude right along with them.  To read some of their fawning, gushing paeans to their hero go here:  Teaching a People’s History

Perhaps Zinn was right, perhaps not, but no matter: His view is considered to be right, to be accurate, by those who adhere to the progressive approach to governance, all of whom are the products of Zinn-based American history teachings, and when you understand that, you understand why they do what they do, say what they say, and justify what they justify. If you believed what Zinn believed, you would  hate America too! So, in that sense, they can’t be blamed, but it is in some measure truly horrifying that so many believe exactly that– because it’s all they’ve ever been taught.

To these people, the space program is not a symbol of America’s greatness or, certainly, any kind of trumped up “exceptionalism”—it is a symbol of America’s wickedness and its desire to transport its particular brand of greed and savagery—can you believe the audacity?—even beyond the confines of this Earth itself, as if it hasn’t done enough damage here, already.

Fortunately (they believe), we now have a President from whose eyes the wool has been removed, and it has been removed by likes of the admirable, dedicated clear-thinking Howard Zinn and the 97% of teachers and college professors who completely agree with him, adhere to his views, and disseminate them ceaselessly. From their vantage point, there is no alternative point of view, only people who sneakily promulgate something different, the traditional “false narrative”, so that they can continue to reap the rewards of domination, or, sadly, those who aren’t smart enough, or haven’t been educated enough, to avoid being brainwashed into submission and complicity in that which is, even more sadly, contrary to their own self interests.

According to them, Howard Zinn got it right, he got it completely right, and it’s about time, really quite about time, that what might be the biggest, ugliest symbol of all of American greed and of the preeminence of the goals of the corporate elite over the best interests of the rest of us (and by “us” I mean the world)—it’s about time this cockamamie space program that these corporate elites like so much to crow about, it’s about time somebody did something about it, and since there are still enough people who would scream bloody murder if you just out and out killed it, we’ll just let it die a natural death from neglect, piece by piece, starting with the part of it that the corporate elites, the “American Exceptionalism” yahoos like the most.

Let’s just say we can’t afford it, how about that?

And that’s why none of this surprises me, confuses me, or bewilders me.

All it does is break my heart, and induce me to go back and find out once again just was it was that Lincoln said, something he said, something about “The last, best hope of mankind”…

 

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