Archive for July 20th, 2009

Apollo 11 MoonwalkToday is the 40 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, back in the turbulent world of 1969.  It was an incredible testimony to our ability as humans to create a huge goal and come together to achieve that goal, facing and overcoming obstacles.  At a time when our country appeared to be tearing apart at the seams, the moon landing, for a moment, brought us together in a unified spirit.

There’s a certain symmetry in this anniversary and the passing this past week of Walter Cronkite, the legendary CBS broadcaster.  Cronkite, unanimously hailed  as the Most Trusted Man in America, was the very symbol and voice of this collective American spirit.  A sort of arbiter of conscience for the country.  You had the feeling that when Walter spoke, it was as the voice of America as we wanted our country to be.  There was never a feeling of him pressing his own agenda, his own partisanship.  It was never bitter and judgmental.  He gave us the information we had to hear and when he did speak editorially, it was only in our best interest.

I’m sure many would call this naive, that we have so much more access to information and news today with all the technology at our disposal.  There’s no disputing that.  We are inundated with every bit of data available to the point that we are floundering in minutiae.  We have so much more information and so many differing, partisan outlets for this info.   But where is our filter, our collective conscience?  Are we better served by our access to so much data or are we constantly splintered and misdirected by those who pass on their versions of the truth of this info? 

Last night, on a tribute to Cronkite, somebody said that there will never again be a person who could be called the Most Trusted Man in America and that perhaps that was a good thing because it would be such a dangerous thing to have someone with so much power over the viewpoint of so many.  For a moment I agreed then a sort of sadness swept over me from the realization that we have come to such a point where we have been so often deceived and taken advantage of that we now cynically believe that no one could possibly serve our best interest collectively.  It made me realize that perhaps in 1969, even as our country seemed in the death throes of turmoil, that we were closer to being a united nation than we now are today.

cbs_cronkite69moonwalkSo, it is with a wistful nostalgia that I look back to that day in 1969 and that look of sheer delight and childlike wonder on Walter Cronkite’s face when that space ship landed because, although I consider myself often naively optimistic, I don’t really want to look forward today.

It’ll have to wait until tomorrow…

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