America is burning…again.
We go through this at least once a decade. Not to diminish the very real pain behind the protests and violence. I certainly do not intend to make light of that. In fact, that is the one thing I find so encouraging about all this right now. America regularly explodes into tense confrontation because Americans are not finished trying. We’re not finished trying to be better. We’re not finished trying to fix things…to fix ourselves. We’re not finished fighting to be the best nation possible for all of our citizens.
We will never be finished. That is the very essence of the American spirit.
At the same time that we are monitoring raging protests across the nation, we are sending American astronauts into space from American soil for the first time in nine years. In addition to this spectacular event, this will mark the first time a private sector space exploration firm has partnered with government to launch Americans into orbit. As I write this we are T minus 2 minutes to launch.
UPDATE: LAUNCH SUCCESSFUL! The SpaceX crew is on their way to the ISS and will arrive within 19 hours.
AMERICA IS BACK, Y’ALL!
And that is the point of my column today. These two events seem diametrically opposed. One is focused on the future and one is focused on the present. One includes destruction and one includes exploration. One is happy and hopeful, one is painful and discouraging. Yet both exist as a beautiful testament to the American Dream.
I can hear some of you already.
Hang on there, Kira! What we’re seeing on the streets of Minneapolis is no dream. It’s a nightmare!
Yes, but that is and has always been where dreams are born…struggle. That is literally the history of this nation for better or for worse. Everything good that we have, every victory we have won for ourselves and for other nations, every improvement we’ve made to our own society has come from immensely painful and often violent struggle. We’ve never been satisfied to say, “We’ve done it. This is good enough and it’s as good as it can get.”
Watching the shuttle program get shut down nine years ago was discouraging and sad. It seemed symbolic of the beginning our decline. Cue the American spirit and the ingenuity that comes with curiosity, time and lots of money. The Elon Musks of the nation are easy targets for ridicule and envy, but Musk himself embodies the American drive. It wasn’t enough for him to be filthy rich. Money without purpose or motivation gets you Jeffrey Epstein and pals. Money with purpose and motivation gets you Elon Musk.
And Elon Musk gets America back to space.
Watching the riots is discouraging, particularly when you understand that a large portion of the violence is being stoked by the domestic terrorist group Antifa. Anarchists aside, there is a lot of genuine rage and anger being represented in these protests and it feels hopeless right now. But we’ve been through this before. These are cleansing fires, not wildfires. When the smoke and ash clears we will pick up the pieces of our neighborhoods and business and fragile relationships and move forward better than ever, more aware than ever – just like we did after the L.A. riots, just like we did after Ferguson, just like we did after the tumultuous protests of the sixties. America did not stop in any of those places. We got better.
Did we do enough? Well, no. Obviously. That is why we see unrest pop up over and over again. We’re not done being better. We never will be.
And thank God.