I have to admit there was a moment in the debate last Thursday, January 26th in Jacksonville, FL that really came out of left field for me. I honestly didn’t see it coming, but why shouldn’t I have? It seems so obvious after the fact, with the debate being in Florida and all. That moment came when Newt Gingrich brought up the idea of building a colony on the moon. Of course, it was quickly mocked by Mitt Romney as absolutely ridiculous in a time when the economy is in such bad shape. Romney also chided Gingrich, suggesting that he was playing the politician by going from place to place offering what each locale wanted.
For anyone just entering the campaign, perhaps viewers watching their first debate, this entire exchange looked like a huge victory for Mitt Romney and a crushing defeat for Newt Gingrich. But, as we all know, things in politics are not always as they seem. Was Newt really just pandering to the Florida crowd? His debate responses from December 10th in Iowa would suggest otherwise. In fact, video footage from that debate shows him giving virtually the same answers.
But what about the idea that he’d be crazy to suggest going to the moon while America (and the rest of the world) is on the verge of economic collapse? If you listen closely to Newt’s entire debate response, he wasn’t actually suggesting that the government colonize the moon, but rather that the private sector be encouraged and empowered to do so. In fact, if he could have given the response he wanted to give, I’m quite certain it would resemble this rather inspiring speech he had given in Cocoa, FL just one day prior.
With all that being said, isn’t it a bit “crazy” in this day and age to be talking about going to the moon? It’s like some pipe dream of days long past. But as Newt describes in Cocoa, it’s dreams like these that have inspired and continue to expire our next generation of young scientists all around the world. The irony in all of this is that on the day before the Jacksonville debate, January 25th, this YouTube video went viral.
It seems that two Canadian high school students decided to launch the first Lego man into space. They videotaped this project to share with the rest of the world, because young people really do still have dreams…and one of them is to go into space. It’s one thing to be realistic and practical, to live within our means, but it something else entirely to lack any sort of vision for the future. I don’t want to be part of the crowd that stands around chanting, “Yes we can!” I want to be part of the ones that make it happen!