It’s Monday, July 18, 2016.
The Republican National Convention starts tonight.
This is also the week that we mark the 47th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the moon.
What do the two events have in common?
Unfortunately, absolutely nothing.
In fact, it’s more ironic than coincidental.
Landing on the moon paid off a gigantic investment this country made. We – the American people, our businesses and our government – set a goal at the start of the 1960s.
By the end of the decade, put a man on the moon and bring him home safely.
It took hard work. It took imagination. It took science. It took heart-breaking failure.
It also took a government willing to risk failure and the patience of a proud people.
When it was done, we – the United States of America – had accomplished something the human race had only imagined for however long we’ve existed. Despite the political divisions in our land – and, man, they were awful ones – the nation came together to celebrate something only we could do.
Contrast that with Cleveland, July 2016.
There is nothing about Trumpism that has anything to do with vision. With what we as a nation are going to accomplish. What we, working together, are going to do to improve the human race.
Instead, it’s about going back to some perceived moment of peak greatness. As if there can’t be anything greater. As if there weren’t things in those times that were imperfect.
Trumpism is about reverting. Of shutting out and shutting down.
And even within those limits, there is only one person whose actions matter. One person who can single-handedly turn back the clock.
His only vision is his name in big bold numbers on the top or side of a building.
He and his supporters bluster and bark. They beat their chests. They talk trash.
And, yet, when it comes to the future, there’s only one word you can use to describe them:
They are afraid of a future in which America welcomes all who can advance the human race. They are afraid of a future in which technological change whizzes around us, daring us to embrace and tame it.
Can we make the planet sustainable? Can we improve the quality of our lives? Can we increase the length of our lives? Can we figure out a better way to get places?Can we explore planets and solar systems and oceans and even the core of the earth itself?
It takes vision and courage to do that.
It also takes an American government that is not scared of being the government of the United States.
Yes, many of this nation’s greatest achievements resulted from the daring of private industry. The iPhone I’m writing this on proves that.
But the atmosphere for creation and innovation is stronger when everyone is a partner.
That, by definition, includes the federal government.
And it has been that way through our history.
Not just the moon landing, spurred by a Democrat.
But the interstate highway system and Panama Canal, a Republican idea. Social Security and Medicare, Democratic ideas.
Greatness isn’t about dwelling on or in the past. Greatness is about shaping what lies ahead to our dreams and imaginations.
The 47th anniversary of one small step for man on the moon should not about nostalgia for the moon landing. It should be about one giant leap toward where we go next.
The only vision you’ll get in Cleveland is unbridled fear. From a fool.
STEPS AND LEAPS
It’s Monday, July 18, 2016.