Thursday, November 13, 2014

Virgin Galactic and the 2014 Election


Virgin Galactic is a company dedicated to taking people into space.

Amidst all the furor of the last election, I went to see a movie called Nightcrawler.  It's a rough, thrilling, depressing-as-hell movie about a psychopath who films accidents and crimes for local television news.  

While he's trying to choose what to shoot, he gets this advice from Nina (Rene Russo):
We find our viewers are more interested in urban crime creeping into the suburbs.  What that means is a victim, or victims, preferably well off and white, injured at the hands of the poor or minority.
Because, of course, we only care when someone rich is harmed by the poor.

Virgin Galactic is a company dedicated to taking rich people into space.

Amidst all the furor of the last election, I read an article about the SS Eastland.  After the Titanic disaster, ships were required to have life rafts for all passengers.  Unfortunately the Eastland was already top heavy.  One day, as the passengers were boarding, it tipped over.  844 people drowned in minutes.

Why do we hear about the Titanic and not the Eastland?  The Eastland passengers were entirely poor, working-class families.

Virgin Galactic is a company dedicated to taking rich people into space for six minutes.

Amidst all the furor of the last election, Virgin Galactic's space ship crashed.  One pilot was killed, another seriously injured.

Virgin Galactic has a brilliant business plan.  For a quarter of a million dollars, you can fly into space.  For about six minutes, you're weightless.  Then, you come back down again.  Think about that for a moment.  Virgin Galactic believes they can make money selling six minutes of weightlessness for a quarter of a million dollars.

And they're right.  Even with a recent test disaster, even without flights currently ongoing, over 700 people have signed up to go.  700.  Do the math.

Virgin Galactic is symptomatic of what's wrong with the world.

In the aftermath of the last election, I sit at a Starbucks, drink my overpriced "coffee" and try to work out what happened.  Four billion dollars were spent and the senate changed hands.  We were all expecting it, of course.  It happens to every modern president in their second term.  However, it makes me wonder why people voted that way when, as I see things, the country was doing so well.

Why would we elect "the party of the rich?"


The best answer I can come up with is we worship the rich. 

The rich are rich because they deserve it.
The rich are rich because God loves them more.
The rich are kind.  The rich deserve tax breaks.  The rich deserve the best healthcare.  The rich deserve the best toys and food.
When the rich die, the nation grieves. 

When the poor die, they are mourned by their families.  Some die alone, piled into unmarked graves, their lives unwritten, not even a footnote in history to mark their passing.


And that is a problem I don't know how to fix.

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