“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Those iconic words were spoken by Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong as he became the first human to set foot on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969.
Millions of Americans, and more across the globe, watched in awe and wonder at this spectacular achievement of technological innovation in one of the defining moments of the 20th century.
As much as most any other cultural or scientific influence, the decade of the 1960s was largely influenced by the “space race.” The U.S. and the Soviet Union were locked deep in the throes of the Cold War. The decade started with the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and tense Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union became the first man in space in April 1961, a month ahead of American Alan Shepard. The race was on to put a man on the moon, famously set as a goal by President John F. Kennedy.
The few days surrounding the first moon landing captivated the world like few other events. Folks who are old enough to remember recall that day with clarity. I remember being in the backyard when mom said it was time to come indoors, and the family watched with rapt attention as the events unfolded.
Our nation seemed to set aside its differences in its captivated state. While the controversial Vietnam War raged on and societal norms were in a state of upheaval, we could pause in reflection of this momentous achievement.
You would think reflection on the moon landing would be one of those easy watershed moments for Americans to reflect upon with gratitude and pride. Sadly, you would be mistaken.
The New York Times – whose headline on July 21, 1969, blared “MEN WALK ON MOON” — ran a story on July 17 last week about NASA’s plan to return to the moon. Its headline: “To Make it to the Moon, Women Have to Escape Earth’s Gender Bias,” with the subheadline “The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. But NASA can learn from its failures as it aims to send women to the moon and beyond.” The article further states, “If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space programs, it becomes difficult to move past it.”
The Washington Post ran a similarly disparaging story about the Apollo 11 mission last Thursday, which posed the question “In archival Apollo 11 photos and footage, it’s a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ exercise to spot a woman or person of color.”
You have free articles remaining.
There you have it. Yes, Apollo space missions were dominated by white men. What’s your point?
As the stories describe, they were stereotypically clean-cut white men in white shirts, pressed slacks, who walked around with slide rules in their pockets and changed the world. News flash to “woke” writers of 2019 pedaling social justice virtue signaling. It was 1969. They were electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineers, mathematicians and scientists. “STEM” field on steroids. Fields that to this day are dominated by men.
The respective writers seem to lack a fundamental grasp of the era in which the Apollo missions occurred. Perhaps they are “Lost in Space.” Precluding women from space travel at the time may not have been politically correct, but that’s simply the way it was. It doesn’t sully the fact those dedicated individuals put together several successful missions to land on the moon using a fraction of the computing power you now hold in your smartphone.
The New York Times writer takes the gender bias allegations a step further, talking about bias in the size of the steps in the equipment, and how the suits are designed for a man’s body, failing to account for women’s body shapes and different sweating characteristics.
However, the writer’s statements lead to confusion. The writer seems to imply there are actual physical differences between genders, but aren’t we supposed to see “gender” merely as a “social construct” with no legitimate basis?
Will the left ever give its anti-American putridity a rest? No matter the accomplishment, the left finds a way to find fault in those whose efforts resulted in something in which Americans can take pride.
A few Founding Fathers were slave owners. Hundreds of thousands died in a brutal Civil War, but victors failed to provide former slaves with proper recompense. The moon landing was “designed by men, for men.” The list goes on and on.
We acknowledge America isn’t and hasn’t been a perfect country. It’s just the country that has done more to advance individual liberties and offer freedom of economic opportunity than any other nation in the history of this planet.
Let us love America — to the moon and back.