Space & Politics Collide in GOP Convention

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)
Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

The Republican Convention starts on Monday, and the event is already stirring up some controversy. (Donald Trump? Controversy? Nooo….how could that be?)

Former NASA astronaut Eileen Collins, who became the first woman to command a space shuttle before the space agency retired the ones it had left to museums, is scheduled to speak during the convention at which delegates are schedule to nominate Trump for President.

There’s a move a foot to free the delegates to vote for another candidate, an effort that doesn’t seem likely to succeed, but is almost sure to cause violence if it did.

One person who has apparently not been invited to speak this time around is Clint Eastwood, whose conversation with an empty chair during the last Republican Convention four years ago left many to wonder whether the star of “Space Cowboys” had suffered from exposure to excessive gamma radiation. It’s a pity; I really wanted to see what he could do with a full dinette set.

Commissioner Gordon
Commissioner Gordon

Meanwhile, long-time space supporter and moon colony advocate Newt Gingrich has been in the running to serve as the vice presidential candidate. However, media reports say he has been edged out by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Trump was supposed to make an announcement today, but he postponed it until Friday due to the attack in Nice, France.

Pence is not exactly a household name, except for perhaps in Indiana. Older Americans are likely to fondly remember his fine work as Commissioner Gordon in the original Batman television series. At least that’s what they’re going to think when they see Pence at the press conference.

In other campaign-related news, 145 tech leaders apparently couldn’t wait to see who Trump chose as a running mate before declaring The Donald’s candidacy as a threat to America’s future.  In an open letter published by Huffington Post, they wrote:

We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline.  We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation.  His vision stands against the open exchange of ideas, free movement of people, and productive engagement with the outside world that is critical to our economy—and that provide the foundation for innovation and growth.

International Space University and Planetary Resources Co-founder Peter Diamandis joined the list of signers, who include many Silicon Valley heavyweights.  The letter notes that the individuals signed in a personal capacity and their actions don’t reflect the endorsement of the organizations with which they are affiliated.

One prominent Silicon Valley figure that is not on the list is billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who backed Facebook and other successful startups. Thiel is scheduled to speak on the final day of the convention on Thursday.