Friday, January 16, 2004

Enough time has passed since Dubyah's "Too da Moon!" moment, I think, for me to go on and say that I'm curious as to why I've not seen the following theory run up the flagpole. Since I haven't seen it in someone else's words, I will give it to you in my own.

I have a theory.

There are several fairly obvious possible reasons why Dubyah is calling for a renewed push into space. One is that he has "faith of the heart". Another is that the effort will send tons of money into the pockets of all the Right people. Another is that he may think he can "inspire" voters. My theory deals with a less obvious possible reason. This reason may be broken down into two component parts.

1) You may recall that China, not so long ago, made a big deal about trying to mount a moon mission. They even sent a fellow into space. News coverage was not as big as it might have been, but it was there.
2) China is, by many accounts, the country best positioned to be a genuine rival to the US in the future. Many on the right, including Neocons, are convinced that China must therefore be nipped in the bud.
Add 1 and 2 and you get 3) Dubyah is planning on a new space race with China. He and his handlers know that the original space race (between the US and Soviets) not only gave a huge economic boost to certain key areas in big battleground states (Orange County, Houston, central Florida) and defense contractors (Boeing, in Washington state, and the former Martin Marietta plant in suburban Atlanta), but it also gave a sports-like thrill-show version of international politics to the bread and circus masses. And it boosted respect for the military (in the form of astronauts).

Oh and by the way: if you are looking up at the stars, you may not be as likely to notice what's going on on the ground. In the heyday of the space race, the US was dealing with a bitter and protracted (and violent) struggle over civil rights for African Americans, massive urban and rural poverty issues (hence the War on Poverty), and Vietnam. Not to mention the counterculture movement, assassinations, awesome corruption scandals, and worldwide conflict. All was NOT well.

But gee that John Glenn was handsome. And the papers wanted to know whose shirts he wore.


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