The Upbeat: It's Not the End of the World
Updated: May 3, 2022
I actually have quite a bit for today, so much so that I combined three potential items into one at the bottom. Collecting content, it is very difficult to make sure that there is a partisan balance and that my writing can appeal to a broad cross-section of the American political spectrum. I haven't yet had the opportunity to assess too much on either front, but suffice it to say that my aim is to reduce partisan attitudes and increase positive and collaborative thinking, not to exacerbate political polarization. With many people terrified of the many issues we face and believing that politics are irredeemable, it is more important than ever that we fight back against this deep-seated hopelessness and despair with peace, hope, and love. To this end: Know that even as many things get worse, there are many things getting better at the same time. One should prepare to address our problems with sobriety, not despair.
I hope that you have a good evening and a wonderful weekend.
-- Seal with a Pen
Postal reform bill signed and enacted. In my very first article on this blog (other than my introduction!), I addressed one step that the Post Office is taking to modernize and prepare for the future. With the USPS $188 billion in debt -- representing more than 250% of its annual revenue, according to the Government Accountability Office -- and losing more money each year, the Post Office needs reform to continue to carry out its constitutional duty (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7). As such, early last month Congress passed the Postal Service Reform Act, which passed with wide bipartisan support and will help the Post Office reduce spending while updating their services to better help users. Read more: https://thehill.com/news/administration/3260950-biden-signs-postal-service-reform-bill-into-law/ (The Hill), https://apnews.com/article/business-postal-service-congress-89deca77df781458a47762669ba0d2db (Associated Press)
Ax-1, the first ever fully private spaceflight to a space station, launches this morning (Credit: NASA/Wikimedia Commons)
Commercial spaceflight takes another step forward. Today, the very first fully private flight to a space station launched from Cape Canaveral, making another small step for commercial spaceflight and a giant leap for mankind, so to speak. This mission is the first flight for Axiom Space, a company that arranges for commercial spaceflight to the ISS and aims to launch their own space station in the future. Axiom Space purchased the flight from SpaceX. And, in case you're wondering what this has to do with politics: Axiom's flights and space station work was authorized and partially funded by a NASA program called NextSTEP, which was authorized by politicians. With the transition of space stations into commercial hands comes brand new opportunities for in-space manufacturing, research, tourism, and much more. Eventually we may be able to blossom into a bright new future of expanding into and colonizing space, thanks in part to programs like NextSTEP that aim to help us along the way. Read more: https://spaceflightnow.com/2022/04/08/first-of-its-kind-commercial-astronaut-mission-heads-for-space-station/ (Spaceflight Now), https://apnews.com/article/spacex-nasa-axiom-space-launch-f184f3c36fa10a969c7faadd6e25a4d2 (Associated Press)
Climate change not the end of the world. With climate change becoming a politicized issue, it seems that a great many people have polarized to the two extremes of climate change denial and climate change alarmism, each of which has become the bogeyman of the other. These groups are, of course, very vocal minorities. According to polling by Pew Research Center from last year, 31% of U.S. adults cite climate change as their top concern, and 30% of U.S. adults say that climate change isn't an important concern at all. The plurality, 39% of American adults, say that climate change is one of several important concerns, including education, limiting government, addressing poverty, etc. But in a world where we're continuously told that humanity will eventually perish due to its own folly (climate change, socialism, etc.) -- which, at least to me, is reminiscent of the concern of nuclear annihilation that Americans were immersed in during the mid-20th century -- it's very easy to become hopeless and distraught regarding the future. With the near-universal presence of these fears, I was pleasantly surprised this week by a video put out by the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt, which covers various scientific topics for education in a very professional manner. The video focuses on backing away from alarmism, and inspiring hope in the future of the human race. The video is presented from a climate activist standpoint. Depending on your views on climate change, it could demonstrate that humanity is not doomed and that alarmism works against our ability to productively address problems, or it could demonstrate that not all climate activists are doom-and-gloom alarmists. If you are interested in watching the video is available here.
Kindness and understanding remain factors in the political world. My aim with this website is to promote kindness, understanding, civility, moderation, and respect. The political world certainly seems to be lacking in these ideals on a regular basis, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum and what your perspective is. Over the past weeks, however, I have been pleasantly surprised by a few expressions of respect and civility that have reached the public eye. One was an article posted in POLITICO about the campaign of Charlie Christ, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat, for the Florida governorship. Crist has focused on, quote, "running on the hug" to drive his campaign. I do not wish to be a shill for any particular party or campaign; I don't endorse Crist or his opponents. I do appreciate seeing somebody eschew political mudslinging. The full article is available here if you want to read it. I was next presented with this article from the Associated Press where Justice Sotomayor, one of the liberal justices on the Supreme Court said with regards to her conservative colleagues: "I try very, very hard to see the good in them, because there's good in every one of them." In a time of acrimony over the Supreme Court's composition and government in general, recognizing that there's good in those with whom we disagree is essential. Thirdly, Amy Coney Barrett, conservative member of the Supreme Court, spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library about her work on the court and her whirlwind experience of being the fastest-confirmed justice in U.S. history. Her interview was covered by People magazine, among other outlets. Among other things, Barrett said that the other justices were very welcoming to her and that both Justices Roberts and Sotomayor had reached out to her immediately after her confirmation to congratulate her. Despite all of the spats and theatre in the media, the Supreme Court seems to function with much more kindness and collegiality than the news would imply. And, importantly, these events show us that there are plenty of kind, loving people who aim to promote good, constructive politics on the national stage in both major parties and on all sides of the political spectrum. May all of them be blessed.