Is there a better quote for America today than Oscar Wilde’s “We’re all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”?
We all have that choice—and it’s more than routinely ironic that the very weekend our country is protesting and rioting over the abhorrent killing of George Floyd, we have returned to space thanks to Elon Musk, the quintessential entrepreneur of our time.
Even more, this is all happening at the time our citizens are just beginning to peek out from their pandemic-induced shelters.
Which side are you on, as we used to sing? Speaking for myself, I choose Musk.
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.”
That song was written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer in 1944, when nearly the entire world was at war—far worse times than we are in now, no matter what we’re feeling at this moment. Despotism was everywhere. Hitler governed more than half of Europe, Stalin ruled the soon-to-be-expanded Soviet Union, and Mao was revving up to take over China.
If we could “accentuate the positive” then, we can certainly do it now. The rioters—whether they are Antifa-types who wish to “smash the state” or just greedy looters—who are running rampant in our cities, do nothing of value for anyone, least of all black people. They depress us, and they depress the decent people of their own communities, and they have, alas, succeeded to a great extent.
America needed a feel-good story right now, and Elon Musk gave it to them.
On the surface, this does nothing for the race situation, but on a deeper level, it does. Everybody dreams—all races and creeds—and Musk has given us an opportunity to dream together, if we decide to take it. We can all be among Wilde’s “some of us [who] are looking at the stars,” should we decide to do it. Skin color does not apply.
As we look upward, we can dream of new horizons for humanity, such as the colorblind society envisioned by Dr. King. And as we move forward, we can even make the dream come true.
It’s interesting, too, that this dreaming did not come largely from the government, but from a private individual with a private business. While NASA luffed, Musk kept going, not waiting for government that moves at the speed of a snail, if it moves at all.
And now the USA is back in space.
But not just space. Musk has a solution for our cities that has more to recommend it than anything we have heard lately from politicians, right or left. (Jerry Brown’s 1960’s-style bullet train boondoggle has finally been canceled.) Musk is not just up in space, he’s under the ground unsnarling traffic.
“Elon Musk’s Boring Company has completed digging a second tunnel underneath the Las Vegas Convention Center, marking the end of the first phase of the $52.5 million project to build a ‘people-mover’ system to shuttle visitors from one side of the venue to the other. The first of the two tunnels was finished in February,” according to a report in The Verge.
“Workers will now turn their attention to completing the above-ground passenger stations on either end of the tunnels, as well as a third underground station in the middle of the system. The people-mover, which is being formally called the Convention Center Loop, is still scheduled to open to the public in January 2021 in time for the next Consumer Electronics Show—if CES happens, that is.”
So the future is being created in front of our eyes, while others take us backward to the land of “Burn, baby. Burn!”
If they stopped for a moment, they might find that Musk has a job for them. It might even pay better than the government dole. And who knows, if they worked hard enough and really wanted to do it, they might be the next ones up in the Dragon.
ENVOI: It should be obvious but I’ll say it anyway—that the police, all of them, involved in the killing of George Floyd should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and the Minneapolis Police Dept. should undergo a thorough vetting. Those things should go without saying. But we should not get lost in recriminations.
To repeat myself (and Wilde): For a better future, we should keep our eyes on the stars.
Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political analyst. He is also an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJMedia.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.