Saturday, November 01, 2008

For the Future

Superficially, we've got the choice of an actual jet pilot (John McCain) and a proud Star Trek fan (Barack Obama) for President of the U.S. There may be Star Trek stars for McCain, though I don't know of any, and I do know of several who are strong for Obama. There are probably current and former astronauts for McCain, but the first American to orbit the Earth is for Obama. Then again, John Glenn was also a Democratic U.S. Senator, so you might think it's party loyalty.

But how about the first American woman in space? Sally Ride wrote a compelling essay supporting Barack Obama:

" Our space program is at a crossroads, and it will take a new generation of leadership to inspire our children to reach for the stars. President John Kennedy understood that by calling on our nation to shoot for the moon, he'd inspire thousands of young people (including me) to study harder at math and science in ways that would enrich our country and expand our horizons.

During this campaign, I have seen young people respond to Obama the way I responded then. He has inspired young people to engage with their communities and has excited them about the possibilities of what they can accomplish. That is in the best spirit of discovery.

Obama also has impressed me with his grasp of the challenges our space program faces and his agenda for where we go from here. Obama clearly understands the importance of human spaceflight and exploration. That is why he supports increasing NASA's budget to close the gap in American spaceflight capability."

"However, he also sees the potential for NASA to expand its research capabilities to study things like global warming and aeronautics."

As Sally starts to suggest in that last sentence I quote, the future is about more than human spaceflight and the NASA budget. It's about the mission: of science and of the country. It has to include applying science and technology as well as international efforts to the Climate Crisis. If we don't meet this crisis, we will never get to the Star Trek future.

That's also true of our relationship to the rest of the world. We must work together to get to that future.

The future has to include applying science, technology and much more to a new green energy economy. That's crucial to saving this country's economy, and saving the planet.

The ideals we associate with Star Trek--intelligence, diversity, empathy, creativity, courage--are personified in Barack Obama. He is the hope of the future. But as he often says, it isn't just because of him. The hope for the future he represents is in the people who support him, and the people whose service will build the future.

I haven't gotten into partisan politics in this blog before, and I don't intend to make a habit of it. But we are at a crossroads, and we have one more opportunity to save the future. It's coming up on Tuesday, November 4. If you're a U.S. registered voter, I hope you will vote for the future. Vote for Barack Obama. We can be the future we are waiting for.

Update: In case you're just back from a deep space mission, Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008.

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