I got a chance to see the space shuttle Endeavour as it made its long, slow trek to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
It’s an impressive vehicle in person, towering above people, buildings and trees, with a wingspan that required painfully cautious zigzagging and other maneuvers to get it through L.A. streets without damage to the shuttle or buildings. I actually got close enough that I could have touched it, if the police hadn’t been there.
While its final mile was a community party that brought out thousands of people, the scene hid an undertone of sadness at the end of a program that built a space station and expanded our knowledge of the universe in countless ways.
The Endeavour will no doubt be a boon to the local community as a tourist draw, but the once mighty spaceship that soared so high above the Earth has essentially become a gigantic lawn ornament, another rundown vehicle up on blocks in the middle of a major city, decaying symbol of a presidential administration that is perpetually dragging down American exceptionalism.
Since President Obama killed the Constellation moon program in 2010, NASA has been struggling with mandates from Congress and the Administration, including a ridiculous order from Obama to expand outreach to Muslims, as if NASA were some sort of social welfare program.
Candidate Mitt Romney has criticized NASA for its lack of direction, and he’s right, although the bulk of the blame isn’t the agency’s.
As I watched Endeavour being towed through the streets, it struck me that the Obama Administration and liberals in Congress and elsewhere don’t understand greatness, the urge to do things that seem impossible, like flying a 150-foot-long metal vehicle into outer space and back.
Obama was never fit to run a country that’s been to the moon. All his life, he’s been handed everything and never really had to work hard for it.
He can’t see the exceptional people who populate America; he only sees those who haven’t or won’t make it under their own steam, and instead of inspiring them with examples of what can be, he undercuts those who stand out, knocks their feet out from under them and calls it compassion for the underdogs.
The same day the Endeavour was being parked in long-term storage, skydiver Felix Baumgartner was doing the impossible, leaping without an aircraft from the edge of outer space, becoming a human missile that broke Mach 1 before landing elegantly on the ground. October 14 was also the 65th anniversary of Chuck Yeager’s historic flight that did the impossible and took a human being past the sound barrier for the first time.
The American spirit is being stifled under an Obama regime that just won’t get out of the way, but it is still strong. Whether it ultimately survives will depend on getting rid of the would-be king before it’s truly too late.