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Blast Off!

posted Jan 5, 2016, 1:18 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

I admit it. When I was a kid I watched a lot of TV. One of my favorite genres was the space adventure. In the early ‘50’s, Space Cadet, Space Patrol, and Captain Video captured my imagination as the heroes used their wits, coupled with technology, to foil the forces of evil’s lust for universal domination. At that time, 2016 was a far-away future, so far away that it was easy to believe we’d be touring distant galaxies. The space adventurers’ sidekicks, and sometimes their most evil foes (I still cringe at the thought of Captain Video’s menacing nemesis, TOBOR.) were robots. Their vessels were sleek, as were their fashions. Frills, cuffs, and pleats get in the way of space travelers who, clad in spandex, mini-skirts, epaulets, and spangled medallions move with ease about their streamlined ships and upon the surfaces of distant planets.

Maybe one reason why I liked the world of the future so much was because women were equal adventurers. They weren’t babes who needed to be rescued. They were smart scientists who often arrived at the brilliant solution that saved our universe from impending doom. There was no place for brawn in space. Science and common sense prevailed and were the tools through which peace was achieved and order was restored to an imperiled galaxy.

I write this reminiscence on the first day of a new year, recalling a post-World War II era’s vision of the future and comparing it with what has really come to pass. First of all, I am happy to report that THE BOMB didn’t fall. Today’s school children are wary of crazed gunmen. Heck, we had THE BOMB and complete nuclear annihilation to deal with. There were periodic bomb drills in which we school children would scramble under our desks as civil defense sirens wailed, crouching until the “all clear” sounded. Aside from the ever-present threat of the immediate and utter destruction of all life on the planet (unless, of course, your family had the foresight to install a well-outfitted bomb shelter), life was pretty good for white people in the America of the ‘50’s. It was a time of peace and prosperity. Having just emerged from the second of two world wars, people pursued the American Dream: a home, a car, an education for the kids. Yep, life was good, albeit dangerous with THE BOMB and all.

Life was so good for most Americans, what with television, frozen pot pies, and the polio vaccine, most bases were covered. We took a deep breath and pondered, “Where do we go from here?” Gazing at the heavens, the answer was simple. If science could create a way to destroy the world in an instant, surely science could devise a way to leave it. Although our technology has evolved and we have many of the gizmos that were futuristic dreams back then: communication satellites, cell phones, pop tarts, and tasers, to name but a few, we remain Earth-bound.

Perhaps, now that we have entered the Space Age, if only in a small way, our task is to use our wits to defeat the evil menace that is here on our home planet before we are ready to venture to other worlds. Although we’ve moved on to meet new challenges and adopt new technologies, our humanness has not seemed to change all that much. We hardly noticed when THE BOMB didn’t drop. Driven by fear and ignorance, It’s so easy to find an enemy when you really want to. So maybe it’s a good thing that we’re not out there galavanting around the universe. Our species’ propensity toward greed and hatred might be contagious. It’s probably better that we stay here, quarantined on Earth until we learn to take better care of ourselves and our planet. In the meantime, we can wear our spangled medallions as we gaze up to the heavens and dream of our place in the universe and a happy, healthy, prosperous world for everyone.

May you have a fearlessly Happy New Year and the best of luck in all your New Frontiers.

 

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