This day is both greater and hollower than it ought to be. Like a balloon blown with stale breath.
The first Americans to directly enlist in the Space Force, an actual branch of the United States Uniformed Services, were sworn in live on national television as part of a morning cable show. Four masked individuals and two uniformed officers were asked to state their name, promise to support and defend against American enemies, and “obey the orders of the president”.
An officer was asked what the future of the Force was to which he responded that the evolution of military action via technological progress has led to the need for such a branch of our military. One of the four first recruits noted that being able “to maintain and protect satellites that are vulnerable to attack” attracted him to enlist. Another officer noted that these recruits are “the first of the pure bred” Space Force personnel.
Contributing most to the hollowness for me? More than the rushed morning show produced spectacle? One of the officers, saying why it was important for the United States to defend against these threats, invoked the phrase “that blue dot” – which echoes that beautiful metaphor of Carl Sagan, “the pale blue dot” – to refer to a few pixels on your cellphone representing your location on this earth, here and now. Just then and over there a few people joined a nascent branch of our military twenty minutes before the president was set to be interviewed by his favorite television program. Will he be asked? Will it rise to the poetry of a mote of dust in a sun beam? Or will this balloon be filled with ever staler air?
Where shall we go from here?