This year continues to be a major crapfest, now we read about the death of John Glenn. Sure, Senator Glenn lived to a ripe old age of ninety-five, and accomplished more than just about any other human being did, but it pains me to read of his passing. John Glenn was the best sort of hero- the once-warrior (wars not make one great) who put his fighting behind him in order to pursue the purer path of the adventurer, the explorer, the conqueror of his own fears (strapping oneself into a bier at the tippy-top of a giant explody thing takes a hell of a lot of courage) and of the limits of gravity. The fact that he returned to space in his post-retirement years is another testament to the man's fortitude.
Not being perfect, Glenn was caught up in the Keating Five scandal, but that's a minor blip in an otherwise... uh... stellar career. It's a shame that humanity has allowed itself to get bogged down in venality, tribalism, and willful ignorance, turning away from the legacy of John Glenn and the astronauts, cosmonaunts, and whatever non-U.S. and Russian space-sailors are called- the legacy of further expansion into the Solar System. The heady dreams of a future in the stars became bogged down in parochial concerns, and a refusal to think beyond the next quarter. Glenn wasn't perfect, but he was good, and I wish that we collectively could have been good enough to live up to his achievements. We could have done better, John, we should have done better.
The post title comes from the glorious Mekons' tune Ghosts of American Astronauts- I figured posting it would be sure to get zrm to visit:
Let's hope that Buzz Aldrin has a speedy recovery, and is able to escape from the mad scientists in New Zealand who are holding him captive... don't make us send Ray Comfort back, you kiwi fiends!