Too many mental tabs open today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our Moon Landing

Second Miner, Mario Sepulveda Out Chile mine rescue.hq

So I spent the whole night watching the amazing rescue of 33 brave men. An operation that will continue well into tomorrow. An operation that was so well thought out it will no doubt be the benchmark of how things are done in the future. As I watched through the happy tears I thought of the moon landing and how my parents must have felt. That feeling that anything is possible has been lost for decades. It reappeared briefly when Obama was elected but that feeling was only shared by half of the country. Watching this "rebirth" with the entire world gives us all the feeling that great things ARE possible when egos are set aside and everyone involved is working on the greater good. Which in this case was 33 human lives.

I want to think that the same thing would have happened here but sadly, I know that would not have been the case. Here, before any rescue operation could commence the fight over who was at fault would come first. Then the fight over who should incur the cost would no doubt follow. It would be government against industry while the world watched and the miners suffered. I'm not here to bash on this country, I'm just stating a fact about what has happened here. I remember right after 9/11, while everyone was walking around in a state of shock something happened. We realized (ever so briefly) that it wasn't "us" or "them" who was attacked. It was 'we" and for a while "we" were nice to each other. We were polite on the road, we waited patiently in check out lines, we consoled each other and for once we all used the majestic plural. We all spoke for each other because for that moment, we were one.

That didn't last long. Soon the political mudslinging started and we went back to being the Divided States of America. Back to us and them (which I know I have written about a bunch of times.)

This amazing rescue has the potential to bring us back to "we", for almost 24 we were all glued to the television (or internet) getting minute by minute updates. We all cheered each time a man emerged from the capsule named Fenix 2, we all were calling these men by their names, like we knew them and we all were annoyed at the political ads that ran on the news networks during the coverage. In the middle of a miracle we were reminded of our reality.

I think we need to take a page from the Chileans and their incredible spirit, they emerged in good spirits and were all greeted by their president who stayed with the rescue the entire time. They were all grateful and thankful as they hugged and cried. They didn't consult with lawyers before doctors, they talked with family and not reporters. They wish to go on to live quiet normal lives, I don't know if that's going to be possible since they all have many exciting opportunities ahead of them (if they wish). In this country the group would have had a team of lawyers before the first one saw daylight.

I guess I keep going back to that skepticism I'm so famous for owning.

With midterm elections near the country is once again divided. I have gone back to posting political stories on my Facebook page, I am trying to stay out of heated debates. With the Chile story still fresh in my mind I'm going to try and keep a piece of those 33 men with me. I'm going to try to think in "we" again. I'm going to hope that others out there felt what I felt watching the rescue: that having a feeling of unity and a sense of accomplishment feels so much better than the arguing and constant desire to be right.

I'm going to think about Mario Sepulveda emerging from what had to have been hell on earth with a huge smile on his face handing out souvenir rocks and leading cheers like his team just won the World Cup.

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.


  1. Bravo M! I marvel at how sometimes your entries echo conversations between Ray and me. Since I'm at work all day I don't get to watch "real" news so he gives me the updates on my way home. You and Ray vocalize the same sentiments. That's why I love you both so much!

  2. M, this is such a well thought out and written piece! I completely agree with you in regards to how different the experience would have been had it happened here. I'm sure our ancestors felt incredible unity during World War 2 and that feeling lasted a long time that subsequently led to the baby boom. I remain hopeful and have dropped some of my skepticism, at least in the potential of humankind. Our country is capable of binding together when tragedies occur. The drill bits used to create the escape tunnel were manufactured in Pennsylvania, this technology cut the projected rescue time in half. Your hopefulness is inspiring and we can all take a piece of the 33 men with us. When we think we're having a bad day stuck in traffic, dealing with our kids, spouses or work, we should recall the uncertainty these men endured for over two keeps things in perspective. Thanks for shining a light on a piece of history that will resonate with us forever.