Call it the week America turned its back on greatness.
In something reminiscent of a New Orleans funeral, the space shuttle Discovery — powerless, lifeless, unable to fly on its own — was towed on the back of a 747 to its final resting place amid great pomp in a Washington, D.C., museum, where it will draw generations of children who will never get to see a space shuttle lumber through the air for a landing, much less zoom into orbit.
It’s the ultimate symbol of the Obama administration’s failure.
At a time when our economy continues to shake and shrivel, while President Obama talks about innovation, manufacturing and overcoming challenges, we mothball possibly the most complex machine ever built.
Instead of turning our eyes toward the solar system outside our front door and rolling up our sleeves, we put our energy-saving sweaters on and complain about the cold as we come back inside.
Rather than continue to lead the world in technological and scientific innovations, we give up the command chair to Russia and China.
Like most things about the Obama administration, its commitment to space exploration has been all hypocritical talk.
While the president has flapped his gums about getting U.S. astronauts to land on an asteroid by the mid-2020s, Obama has long since killed the program that could have gotten us there — a program which, by the way, probably would have cost less, spurred more business and employed more people than any government-spawned bailout.
Thus Discovery passes with no heir apparent and our once-daring astronauts reduced to paying passengers on a Russian or Chinese flight.
The plan once was to build the International Space Station, use it as a jumping-off point to the moon, then build a lunar base that could serve as a launch pad for getting men to Mars and possibly beyond.
The plan now, apparently, is to settle in to mediocrity, to abandon exceptionalism and leadership for a spot among the rest of the herd as we watch China trample all over the historic footprints we made on the moon.
The first space shuttle ever built was named Enterprise after the famed ship in “Star Trek.” The name and the famous challenge “to boldly go where no one has gone before” encapsulated the spirit of the shuttle program, even if the ships themselves were incapable of going past Earth’s orbit.
But Obama and indeed the entire Left have no stomach for boldness. Theirs is a philosophy built on fear: Don’t do that, it might make you sick; don’t walk there, it could be dangerous; don’t use that, it could hurt the environment. They are emotional and intellectual invalids whose only dreams are of disaster. Derring-do is fundamentally an act of faith that something can be done because we can conceive of it.
When in the future children ask what happened to the American Dream, direct them to Washington where the dream rots in the tomb of Discovery.