This morning while most of us were sleeping (and some of us were hovering over our 10 month old who had spiked a fever of 103.2 out of the blue) Curiosity landed on Mars.
I had heard this was happening a few hours before on CNN. But that was a 3 minute mention right before CNN turned back to covering the latest shooting for the next 3 hours and I changed the channel quickly to HBO to be entertained and irritated by the Newsroom for the 5th time in a row.
I came into work this morning and, after touching base with my boss whose vacation had been frustrated by me having to interrupt him several times last week, caught up on my Facebook and news.
I read the story about Curiosity and thought how cool it was that we have an SUV tooling around Mars right this very second.
Then I checked my Facebook and read status updates saying that, while cool and all, the $2.6 billion spent to get Curiosity to Mars was basically a waste of money.
And once again I was frustrated with humanity. But this has been true for the last week.
Really, folks?! The money is spent. Why can’t we just be amazed by it.?? I wanted to put in all caps on their statues.
Someone said that “in better times I’d be all for it.”
Well, Mr. Killjoy, please tell me when would be a better time?
When we have stopped insane people from shooting up high schools and colleges and theaters and Sikh temples…not to mention politicians and 8 year olds outside a Walgreens in AZ?
When we have tracked down and killed all of Al Qaeda and their ilk?
When Syria is peaceful and the government isn’t torturing children so their parents won’t fight… because they are afraid that if the fundamentalist rebels win the country will roughly regress about two centuries in civil rights? (yes, you have to love the irony there)
When a woman caught in a tug of war between two men in Afghanistan isn’t publically shot to death because both of them want her and so they have her killed as if she was a toy they broke so neither one of them could have her?
When Israel, Palestine and the rest of the sandbox of the Middle East learn to coexist?
When Iraq gives up nuclear ambitions and Russia stops imprisoning journalists?
When, pray tell, is it a good time to travel to another planet?
Because if we wait until all the above is realized it will NEVER happen. If we waited until half that was realized, it would still never happen.
Hell, if we spent that $2.6B on the homeless or put it towards the national debt it would barely make a dent.
We just spent the entirety of last week with the Christian and gay communities in this country getting prideful, nasty and judgmental over chicken sandwiches!
We needed this. We needed a Moonwalk Moment.
But there was no pride of achievement here. This was a footnote to most of us. CNN should have been hyping this for a week. NASA should have had Curiosity land in primetime and we should be watching this with our kids and marveling over it. My 4 year old should have seen it.
Someone should have written something amazing to be the equivalent of “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
But as it is I did not even know it was happening until a couple of hours before and in the middle of the night.
However, I do know that the Sikh temple shooter had a 9/11 tattoo and was “possibly” a white supremacist.
I know Dan Cathy and a shitload of other Christians think we are “inviting God’s judgment” by even thinking about accepting gay marriage. And these people are so very proud of themselves for going and making him a shitload of money last Wednesday. I know because my Facebook page was full of pictures of all the lines at all the Chick-Fil-As in my hometown.
I know a whole lot about a whole lot of really bad things I wish never happened… like someone breaking into a woman’s house, carving “dyke” into her arms and stomach and setting her house on fire… like underage kids posting pictures of themselves raping a passed out girl at a high school party and the rape victim almost went to jail when she tweeted their names… and, God help me, I know about Jerry Sandusky.
I also know a whole lot about a whole lot of things so inconsequential and petty that I should never have heard of them… e.g. Kristen Stewart’s affair with her director, Steven Tyler has quit American Idol (a show I have never watched even once), that Elton John is dissing Madonna and that years after her death there are still picture books of Marilyn Monroe coming out, though most of us have never even seen Seven Year Itch.
I know that there is a presidential election coming up and you have to pick a side: the Private Sector or the Government because apparently it is impossible to think that both are important to our way of life. You have to demonize one and love the other. You cannot be a reasonable person and think that Capitalism and Government are in an inextricably linked symbiotic relationship of equal importance. And God help you if you are a moderate in today’s political climate. You will just quit. Ask Olympia Snow or Steve LaTourette.
We have divided ourselves into groups. And to a certain extent that is fine. It is a part of the human condition to identify with a group. We have always done it going back to the beginning of our history.
The problem is that we are now living in the best time humans have ever experienced. So now we have plenty of time to judge other groups. We no longer have to band together to survive and mind our own group’s business. We band together because we want to. And what we really want to do in our group is judge other groups and list all the reasons why we would NEVER be a part of THAT group. THAT group believes X and we believe Y and so we have to MAKE them stop believing X and FORCE them to believe Y. It is, after all, what God would want us to do, right?
We ESPECIALLY like it if the other group is having some sort of sex our group forbids. We LOVE to get our noses into other people’s beds and judge what they do there. It is scandalous. It is titillating.
So, please, please, please, as a nation and a people, we need to be brought back together. We need to be united in accomplishment and pride. Not AGAINST something or someone but FOR something we can all believe in.
Landing an SUV on Mars could have been that thing. But it wasn’t.
And, really, how can we come up with something more amazing than that?
Going outside our solar system?? Yeah. That would be awesome, right? Everyone would think that was cool! Wait. We already did that. I bet you didn’t even know it.
So much for wonder. We can all go back to bickering amgonst our little groups now.