Monday, February 20, 2017

U.S.A.: We can still do shit!

SpaceX launch. Photo from nasa.gov
If you missed it, check out the launch of the Space-X rocket from historic launch pad 39A. The final countdown starts at about the 19-minute mark. And watch through minute 30 to see the first stage landing. I was lucky enough to be wasting time on FaceBook yesterday morning, instead of going to church, and caught the live video feed a friend had posted to his page.

There was much to be amazed by. First, any big rocket launch is cool. Second, the landing of the
reusable first stage is very cool. And third, that I was watching it live on FaceBook along with thousands of others, live commenting, as the count-down unfolded—very, very cool!

I also felt something I hadn't felt in a while. Pride. American pride. We still can do shit! Big shit! Big shit with a purpose. Here is what I wrote on my friend's FB page commenting on the launch:

This is how its supposed to work. Big projects require massive investments. Only gov't can really do that at that scale, clear the way, so to speak, whether its rocket launches, railroads or the internet. Then the IP and infrastructure is shared and private industry takes it from there.

In our country we have gotten locked into an either/or debate and we need to end it. It's not helpful. It's not that government is bad and the private sector is good. Or the other way around. Each has its purpose. Each can do good work and both, together can do really good work. And, by the way, when we talk about "government" or the "private sector" we are really just talking about people. We the people. We create those these. Oh, and speaking of people, the person leading SpaceX is a person named Elon Musk. An immigrant from South Africa.

It's President's Day today. Much to wring hands about, I'm sure. But today I am going to celebrate that "can-do" spirit that is uniquely American. And what attracts people to want to become Americans.

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