As a country, we need to think about what made us great a generation or two ago. What is it about America that caused a politician running on “hope” to gain so much ground when he really didn’t offer up much substance?
The problem is our particular set of cultural priorities. We have gone from a country that worked hard, understood devotion and sacrifice and was willing to earn our way, to a country of victims, whining about what we don’t have while not even realizing what gluttons we really are.
I know this post doesn’t seem very positive yet, but it’s because there are some really negative things taking place in our society. Our schools are becoming training grounds for entitled, self-indulgent losers that live only to mooch off the system. Universities and churches are overlooking the abuse of children to avoid a scandal and protect ball teams. Politicians pander to the lazy and to special interest groups for votes, then ignore what is right, or what their constituents want, in favor of some huge corporation that lined their pockets on the campaign trail. Some religious groups rally against freedom fighters and soldiers while others try to brow-beat people with the bible when they’d be better off appealing to their humanity.
All these negative things, one way or the other, will eventually work together to change our society: either through collapse from within or by people becoming so disgusted that they activate change.
Positivity and hope can come when we change our focus from entertainment and entitlement back to work and innovation. There’s nothing innovative about a university football team. A professor of mine said that “a university is a forum for the exchange of ideas.” I agree and I think football is not an idea, nor is it a worthy educational pursuit. This applies to all the meaningless fluff that has invaded our educational system. We would be much better-served to place those pursuits in the private sector and left to the scrutiny of the free enterprise system, while our educational efforts focus on the arts and sciences.
“Arts?”, you ask. Yes. Every tool you use to do your job, every recipe you cook, everything you use to perform the thousands of tasks you do each day was designed. It may have components that were engineered for their function, but nothing is functional without form.
If you need an explanation for Sciences, I’m afraid there may not be much hope for you.
My point is that with concentration on the right things, our society can begin to innovate again. Work has become something we do until we can be entertained again. Few people care about what they do because they’ve been raised to think that playing games is more important than bringing real value to the lives of others.
In order to make these changes we need to make changes in our systems, our politics and our way of thinking. The government leaders in charge today have a remarkable opportunity to change the way of life for every American. They can come together and change their priorities so that Science, innovation, creativity are the hot topics. NASA, a government agency, can be a key component in the change. It’s up to politicians to make the right decisions and set this country back on the course to greatness.
Each time they want to address our economy, our workforce or our place in the global economy, they need to remind Americans that NASA is a true change agent, perfectly positioned to generate jobs, new technology and subsequent markets. Americans also need to show interest in this positive change as well. That’s going to be the hardest part.