We spent yesterday at the Kennedy Space Center, primarily to see a rocket launch, something we had not witnessed in person previously and it certainly lived up to our expectations. It was a beautiful day and the several thousand people gathered on the shoreline were all waiting patiently for the scheduled 1:45 PM launch. It went off as scheduled to the thrill of everyone, many from other countries as we talked with people from Germany, Switzerland and France all nearby.
Seeing and feeling a launch in person is quite different from all the films viewed over the years and while this Atlas rocket was not as big as the Saturn V or some of the others that carried people on the shuttle into orbit, it was big enough to get an impression of the past 50 years of the space program. This experience, along with all the films and documented history at the Center added a dimension to our understanding and appreciation of the international space station’s operation.
As we watched the Russian and American space engineers work closely together and celebrate their success, together with people from 16 other countries who had been involved, the view from space of earth with no boundaries between countries drove home the silliness of our political folly. As the United States increases sanctions against Russia and feels justified in doing so, it just seems so senseless that we can’t find more effective ways to cooperate on the earth.
I was taken back to my definition of a paradox, a word which is most often defined as an apparent contradiction, and it is all of that and more. Paradox, translated literally, means that which is contrary to public opinion. Will the public every have a sufficient and strong enough opinion to tell the leaders to stop trying to solve problems through the exercise of power? Will we ever try instead, like the space program, to share a common vision, a common purpose and a common goal?
We have proof that we can work together for the common good. Why not use that hard evidence and translate it to earthbound problems? Perhaps it’s too obvious or that we continue not to learn from the mistakes of the past or that there aren’t enough people who care to weigh in and make the difference. Maybe it’s just a case of head in the sand one more time.