Huge clouds of smoke rise in to the endless blue sky while man again writes on the pages of history. Excitedly, society waits for Apollo 15’s new and more advanced trip to become more a part of them. Meanwhile, research is being conducted and hours of study invested to bring into reality the not so distant Apollo 16.
This is great, isn’t it? It is a real privilege to be able to see the moon, have our men walk on it, to be able to find out what it is made of, and have our flag erected there. It is amazing the ways in which experimentation can continue to fill in our questions and show others we can accomplish what they cannot.
Well, let us stop for a minute and look at it through a different magnifying glass, the glass through which I see a young father moaning weakly from lack of food while many a people walk politely by. And beyond this I spot a land where a whole country slowly is being destroyed by starvation. I find people crying in such fierce pain that it will never be forgotten. I view the many ghetto areas crushed with complete silence and yet screaming so loud that it fills the night. I see everywhere people trying to crawl out from ugly pits of unhappiness and sadly, I turn my magnifying glass to the pathetic scene in Vietnam. The mass confusion and the most sorrowful faces that confront me there fill me with many questions.
How long can people go ignoring the tragedy of spending such a fantastic amount of time and money on going to the moon while at the same time we are living with conditions here on earth that are not improving or even in many cases growing more drastic! Surely all today’s problems cannot be cleared away and all tears turned into a happy smile. But, where do people place their values? Is it not far more important to help some of our brothers come home to us again from the war in Vietnam? Doesn’t it make more sense to feed a starting people? Or to at least try to help repair the born ghettoes? To at least try to help people find a smile with some kind of meaning should be the goal of any humanitarian society.
I fail to understand how man can become so excited over space ships sent to the moon and yet remain insensitive towards the dying nation. Perhaps the Apollo 15 shows more clearly than ever the sad condition of people in this United States. Our millions of dollars are burned up into the sky as we explore the moon and we call it success.
Isn’t it a pity?
Now I’ve seen through this magnifying glass. I’m going to throw it out and hope someone will reach up and catch it in the wind.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 7 November 1971