Astronomers believe there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe, and between 100 and 300 billion stars in our own Milky Way alone. The sheer immensity is both humbling and beyond our modest comprehension. Yet increasingly, people can’t even take in the vast spray of stars cast across the night sky anymore, as that display has been veiled by the light pollution enveloping our cities. Thus, while much has been gained in our relentless technological trek, much too has been lost along the way, too.
With even the majesty of the night sky taken we tend to shrink in the dim light of man’s own making. By that weak light many people remain shaded in the darkness of fact-aversion, beyond the light of acquired knowledge and accepted science. And though all science is amenable to challenge, there is no light strong enough to penetrate blind denial or unquestioning allegiance. Accordingly, many see only right-wrong, light-dark, win-lose, here-there, yes-no, ME-YOU, a very brittle outlook, indeed. Even our political framework has been constructed into cartoonish either-or choices.
For decades the U.S. wrestled the Soviet bear for international primacy in a long and bitter Cold War. Finally, the bear and its Communist system succumbed, driven into the deep freeze of insolvency in 1989. Yet remnants of international Communism persisted, most stubbornly in Cuba.
Throughout the Castro brothers regime in Cuba, an American trade embargo has been in place crippling the Cuban economy. Now, in his final year in office, President Barack Obama has flown to Havana to meet with Cuban leaders, including President Raul Castro. This makes Obama the first sitting U.S. President to visit the island nation since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Even as we struggle to combat the barbaric jihadists in the Middle East while trying to re-boot the political hard drive in our own hemisphere, there are those who say a stronger hand is what’s needed, not a conciliatory one.
But as we should have learned in Vietnam, in a battle for hearts and minds against an asymmetrical enemy, might alone will never be the deciding factor — and as suggested in a previous post (Our Sorcerer’s Apprentice) may actually work to our disadvantage if in the wrong hands.
And so while attempts to define us by our faults may reveal shortcomings, whenever others question America, I suggest we revert to the appeal that worked so effectively against the Soviet Communists. I speak of the Charmin Supremacy. Continue reading