There were two very different news stories from different corners of the world today. Here, in the Prozac Nation, it appears that some our citizens, outraged over Donald Trump's alleged sexual indiscretions exercised their right to protest by firebombing a GOP campaign headquarters in North Carolina. The story came on the heels of a report of some outrage from the other side of the aisle when three men in Kansas were arrested for plotting a massacre at a Moslem community center. Apparently, the Politics of Personal Destruction are beginning to be taken literally by some.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, Chinese citizens were talking about two heroes---astronauts---who successfully launched a manned space mission today. Astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong will dock at China's new Space Station and remain there for 30 days before returning to earth. The launch took place at 7:30 AM Beijing Time, about mid-afternoon Sunday in the US when most Americans are in the hookah lounges, watching the NFL.
Jing is 50 years old and already something of a Chinese national hero. One of China's top fighter pilots, Jing transferred to the Aerospace Division and completed astronaut training. He has already flown into space twice, as a test-pilot for the Shenzou-11 space shuttle. Chen, who is 38, is a qualified astronaut though this important project is his first space flight. Chen is said by many to be a protégée of Jing's.
During this mission, the astronauts will perform the first ultrasound experiments in space and experiment with cultivating plants, both central to China's ongoing project to colonize space within the next decade. The astronauts will also test three projects submitted by Chinese secondary school students, who won a school competition in experimental space design.
In Chinese public schools, astronauts are heroes and interest in astrophysics is promoted. It used to be the same in the 1960s in the US, but sadly today, political correctness is promoted here instead and American space pioneers of the Apollo Missions have largely been relegated to the ranks of dead white males. We really no longer effectively have a space program here today. The politically-correct NASA began selecting a more multicultural group of astronauts for own Space Shuttle program back in the 1980s. The frequent accidents and scandals that broke out in NASA since then led Obama to ground the Shuttle Program in 2011. Our last major feat in space happened about two years ago, when an aerospace engineer accomplished the truly remarkable feat of landing a space probe on a comet. But instead of being a national hero, the inventor was roundly denounced and criticized for wearing an allegedly 'sexist' T-shirt to a press conference.
Not so in China, however. Jing's and Chen's exploits have captured the imaginations of a whole generation of Chinese boys and young men. Zhang Yulin, a top Chinese military official in the Aerospace Division agrees. "Shenzhou-11 is a new beginning." he told Xinhua News, "It marks the imminent end of the exploratory stage of China's manned space program. With the establishment of our planned expanded Space Station in 2020, China will carry out manned space missions on a regular basis. Spacecraft will be launched several times a year instead of once every several years. By then, besides astronauts, engineers and even tourists will hopefully be able to go to space."
So while American politicians are busy alternating between denouncing civil unrest and fomenting more of it; Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to the astronauts from Goa, where he is attending the annual BRICS meeting.
"This historic mission demonstrates that China has made new and significant progress in our manned space program." Xi stated, "We can be confident that our further goals in space will be realized. It is important for China to break new ground in manned space technology constantly, so that the Chinese people will take greater strides and march into space exploration fearlessly, to make new contributions to building Chinese power in Space."