NASA and the New Black Panthers party come together to illustrate how far afield we have strayed. First, NASA.
You may have heard this. Last month, NASA administrator Charles Bolden gave an interview to the Arab TV network Al Jazeera in which he said: (Click here to listen.)
“When I became the NASA administrator — or before I became the NASA administrator — he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.”
Foremost, it’s NASA’s job to help people in the Muslim world feel good about themselves? I didn’t know that. All this time I thought NASA’s job was to advance the causes of aeronautical research and space exploration. Silly me.
I don’t know that it’s anybody’s job in the U.S. government to advance the self-esteem of Muslim nations but if it is, it sure as hell isn’t NASA’s.
How far we have fallen. For $136 billion in today’s dollars spread out over a decade in the 1960s, we put men on the moon and in so doing laid the predicate for personal computers, cellular telephones, robotic surgery, digital imaging and countless other technologies that we take for granted every day. Contrast that with the $787 billion spent on a stimulus bill that didn’t stimulate and consider that while that money is being wasted, the last manned American space launch that you and I will likely ever see is on the schedule for February of next year. So much for Neil Armstrong’s giant leap.
Then there’s the New Black Panthers party. On election day 2008 in Philadelphia members of the New Black Panthers dressed in military garb brandished night sticks while shouting racial epithets outside a polling place. Department of Justice lawyers had them dead to rights on voter intimidation charges when attorney general Eric Holder intervened and ordered the charges dismissed. Lest you have any doubt about who we’re dealing with, here are excerpts of what King Samir Shabaz, one of those charged, has had to say about his regard for white people and the rule of law: (Click here to listen.)
“I hate white people. All of them. Every last iota of a cracker I hate him.”
“We keep begging white people for freedom. No wonder we’re not free. Your enemy cannot make you free, fool. You want freedom? You’re gonna have to kill some crackers. We gonna have to kill some of they [sic] babies.”
If you had this character dead to rights would you give him a get-out-of-jail-free card?
This story and the idiotic remarks of the NASA administrator tie together in this way. In this withering recession, businesses big and small have been forced to laser in on the things that each can do well and profitably.
But the administration of this government, by contrast, has become so grandiose in its vision of itself as a transformative force in the world that it can’t perform even its most basic functions, like putting criminals in jail.
Mr. President, no matter how many benisons NASA sends to the Middle East, they’re never going to feel so good about themselves that they start liking us. And keeping us safe from criminals, including those that spew racial bile, is your first and most important job. As for the world, it will transform itself in its own good time. If in the meantime you would use your considerable rhetorical gifts to get NASA, the Department of Justice and the U.S. government as a whole back on task, we’d all be much obliged.