I will begin by explaining that I was born to be tidy. I cannot help it, and now it’s gone cosmic.
The Queen of Clean-Up. That’s me. I’ve been that way since I was a child. Even my dorm space in college looked like an image from Good Housekeeping. Now I realize that this was an early sign of my destiny, or let’s say the destiny of the feminine.
That fact didn’t really penetrate until Thursday afternoon when I had tea in a beautiful home with four very intelligent, knowledgeable, and articulate feminine elders. The conversation ranged widely, including over politics. Let us be candid. The United States is in a mess and so is much of the world. There was a moment when my mind distanced from the group and merely observed, and then I realized: We are the answer.
Let me add that there is nevertheless enormous respect for the masculine afoot. All of this material is coming out lately about why being a man is not as great as it used to be. I could make up a very long list of reasons why, and I’m sure you can too. However, one on my list is inspired by the unusual place where I live.
Santa Fe is rich in history, including major focus on the era of the Spanish conquistador. There is a dark side, but the story is endlessly fascinating because it speaks of a boldness in the human spirit that we cherish, and especially in men.
A statue downtown of Santa Fe’s founding governor, Pedro de Peralta, always brings this to mind. In cold metal, the artist has created the fiery energy, determination, and daring of the male that seem to be running out of room for safe expression.
It was never safe, actually, but because of the vastness of this planet, the resulting turmoil could be confined to certain territory. Now, however, the amount of habitable land–much less unexplored land–is shrinking rapidly due to overpopulation and drought. War, the classic route of conquest, is no longer working. Nobody is winning; everybody is losing.
Let’s imaginatively enter the masculine mind in this new era. Can you sense the panic over a form of dead-end? Are the sports arena and endurance athletics becoming the only places where men can freely express the spirit mounted in art on the restless stallion?
This question occurred again as the result of a recent article on deep cuts in the planetary sciences. NASA’s entire science budget is $5 billion, and further funding for exploration of Mars, Saturn, and Europa is in doubt. Forget about finding another habitable planet. It looks like we have to stay here. Another dead end.
But maybe not. Let’s think about this. Defense spending in the United States in 2012 was $645.7 billion. China was next in volume at $102.4 billion. Russia spent only $59.9. Is our level of investment crazy or what? When you add to U.S. spending that of our assumed allies–although we seem to be good lately at ticking everybody off–the figure comes to almost $950 billion. What, in heaven’s name, are we doing and why?
Well, we know the reason why, but I think we need to begin pressing immediately for a huge shift in spending–from “defense” into planetary sciences. We can certainly spare a few billion and start creating jobs through subcontractors in that industry. And instead of continually investing in massive overkill, pun intended, we could put the dangers inherent in climate change up on the big screen and shift the focus to collaborating on survival. That may become urgent, like, next week.
And here comes the clean-up thing. A lot of new space spending will probably focus on trying to find another planet to colonize. That will take who knows how many years, but who cares? Space science creates wonderful advances useful everywhere, and the idea of exploration is exciting to the collective. For the men, it evokes the lines from a poem by Edgar Guest (“The Things That Haven’t Been Done Before”) as follows:
There are deeds they hunger alone to do;
Though battered and bruised and sore,
They blaze the path for the many, who
Do nothing not done before.
Even though I think that the excitement space exploration generates is just great, I love it here. As I said, though, earth is a mess, and I don’t mean just the war ruins. There is so much that is deteriorating, so much that wasn’t done well to begin with and needs to be torn down and replaced, so much that needs to be cleaned up, and so much wilderness that needs to be restored and preserved for our adventurous men.
The Queen of Clean-Up has spoken. It is time for the ladies to emerge as leaders dedicated to returning earth to The Garden, so to speak. Eve has been blamed for getting us kicked out; Eve can regain entry.
And by the time the feminine acquires the necessary standing to accomplish this, we will no doubt have a policy in place and a colony available in outer space where we can ship troublemakers and slobs. Time to straighten up. They have been forewarned.