Why the “moon mission” analogy will no longer work

Chris Cameron over at ReadWriteWeb had a decent post that was basically a re-wrapping of the salient points raised by a weekend op-ed piece in the New York Times by Thomas Friedman. Of course in both cases the authors raised the immortal specter of John F. Kennedy and his impassioned plea for man to go to the moon.

The quote that has gone down in history as the driving forces behind one of the United States’ golden ages is this:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy,” said Kennedy in September of 1962. “But because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.”

As much as Friedman would like to see the same defining moment for the beleaguered country from President Obama it will never happen. Those days are gone and as much as we might like to believe that we can re-boot the country with the same type of heartfelt plea the possiblity of another golden age is beyond our grasp.

The one reason for the success of JFK’s dream is that it was one that looked beyond borders, beyond ourselves. It was a common goal that never suffered from the threats of internal corporate / government / citizen strife. JFK was able to bring the nation together because there were no threats to the status quo.

Today it might be nice to look back at the time and believe we can repeat the incredible feat but this is extremely unlikely. There are too many conflicted interests. From the entertainment with their secret meetings to radically change copyright laws on a global level to broadband providers that controls the keys to the gate of innovation and change. There are too many vested interests in keeping the status quo.

If we are expecting to hear some modernized version of Armstrong’s famous “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” statement as he stepped foot on the Moon we can keep on hoping.

For all the hope that the people of the United States have put in President Obama the reality is that any chance of re-booting the country will only happen if there is a collective agreement by everyone involved; governments, businesses – large and small, and the citizenry all agree to reset the status quo to a whole new fairer level.

Will that happen?

I don’t really know but if the healthcare debate, the massive profits by big name financial institutions even after being saved by the American people from collapse, and the rabidly media fed polarization of politics is any example it doesn’t look good.

We need a new “I have dream” moment but right now there are too many people and companies lined up ready to shoot it down.

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