As a child, my parents and my teachers encouraged me to read. Some of those books were pre-selected by them. But my folks also took me to a wonderful local book store on Lexington Avenue in NYC that had started a children’s book and discussion club.
It was a warm and inviting place and to a child all the wonderful books with their hard covers, nestled in their assigned places, looked like a vast universe of story telling that were waiting to be discovered and devoured. I loved the Worthington Book Store and Mrs. Bramley who owned the shop. Somehow, she just seemed to be the exactly right person to own this wonderful place.
I think that it was a combination of her gray hair rolled into a bun and fastened with bobby pins and the beautiful but simple home made sweaters that she had knitted and wore in the store that conveyed that impression most strongly. And she had a wonderful smile that welcomed all of us little visitors to join her in the quest for knowledge.
In 1956, Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel, “Time For The Stars” was published. On one of my Saturday visits I happened to see it among the stacks of books in the fiction section. Science fiction was pretty much in its infancy at that time, despite the earlier contributions of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
The dust cover caught my eye. There was a picture of one of the “torchships” that Heinlein described in his novel. I’m not sure why but somehow I knew I had to read that book. I’m glad that I did, finishing it in two sessions. That book started me on a lifelong interest in both astronomy and science fiction.
Later I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. They offered an introductory membership for ten cents. In return they would send me any five books listed in their extensive catalog. The synopsis of each book also made mention of the number of pages the volume contained. So I chose the five longest books that they had listed. I was determined to get my money’s worth. That was a great investment.
As the genre grew a following, Hollywood got involved. Science fiction movies began to proliferate. At first, movies were made of the classics. “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea”; “The Time Machine”; and “The War Of The Worlds,” were among the first, but certainly not the last.
Perhaps it’s a reflection off our way of looking at ourselves and the universe, but in most books or movies in which mankind makes contact with other species, the aliens are almost always portrayed as hostile invaders, bent on the destruction of humanity. So for purposes of conversation, let’s assume that should actually happen.
Well, as one would imagine, suddenly our petty spats which we politely call wars would cease as we focused our attention on the greater threat of total annihilation by the invaders. And, the United States, with our certain military superiority would lead the effort to save mankind. That’s a frightening concept.
In making that statement I do not refer to the invasion but to America’s ability to respond should we encounter those invaders while President Obama is at the helm. Consider how this administration has conducted business over the last five years.
Prior to the 2012 campaign, I asked a slue of Obama supporters why they were going to vote to retain him in office, based on what he and his administration had done in his first term. While most of the answers avoided citing a specific achievement, the few people who came up with an answer considered Obamacare as a great accomplishment. That was their reason for voting for a second term.
So today we have ten days worth of Obamacare under our belts with the rollout of the exchanges and the initial enrollment in the health insurance portion of the law. I realize that any new computer program is likely to have some “glitches”. That is normal – but minimizing those is usually done in beta testing before the product is released.
The initial bill for building this system was $57 Million. However, in excess of $637 Million actually was spent. A reasonable person would think that with all those extra dollars being thrown at this (those dollars belonging to you and me), the result would be spectacular. And it has been – a spectacular disaster. Even the administration is admitting that there are some “minor problems”. For a group of people who seem to specialize in rhetorical hyperbole, that statement seems to be a bit understated.
This “signature piece of legislation” is proving in its implementation to be nothing short of a total disaster. Considering the fact that the financial and healthcare assumptions made in writing this law are unrealistic, with such a bad start it is encouraging that there are a few dedicated members of Congress who have made it their mission to get it off the books.
But while this is the most threatening law ever enacted to restrict personal liberty, it is merely the outgrowth of an administration filled with cronyism, scandals, a CIC who is both petty and whose ego is inflated by hubris. Our President is a man who has demonstrated a total lack of leadership. With someone such as Obama as head of the ship of state, one can only hope that should the skies suddenly fill with hostile UFO’s, the Pentagon has stocked a large supply of white flags.
Even in my most imaginative moments, I don’t really expect us to be contacted by alien civilizations. Why would they bother with us as we are little evolved from our primitive forebears? And I’m sure there are other spots in the universe that are every bit as interesting as Miami or Laguna Beach.
If we as humans face a truly serious crisis, it is less likely to be launched by visitors from another planet than it is either by ourselves or by Mother Nature. Tsunamis, epidemics, terrorists – these are not science fiction but historical fact. And it seems that as we further devolve into our more primitive nature those that are going to be inflicted by men on his fellow man are likely to increase both in frequency and virulence.
Let’s postulate for a moment, that a serious viral or bacterial outbreak occurred which affected the food or water supply or both. Whether it was a function of something that nature brought on us or whether terrorists were responsible is immaterial. How much confidence should any American have in the Obama administration to handle this situation effectively?
Setting aside partisan politics and merely looking at Obama’s track record, I have to say that my confidence level in his skills suggests that if I am not prepared to try to cope with that sort of situation by taking my own steps to safeguard myself and family, I am doomed to be one of the many victims who will fall by the wayside.
And what will become of those who have entrusted themselves and their lives, given up their personal responsibility to take care of and fend for themselves to what they believe is a beneficent government? As they lay dying, they will wonder why no one is answering their 911 call on their free, government provided cell phones.