By Douglas Messier
Recently, 145 Silicon Valley tech executives wrote an open letter opposing the candidacy of Donald J. Trump for president. In the letter, they basically declared the billionaire to be a threat to America’s very future.
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.
“Pushing beyond the boundaries of what we know is core to who we are as Americans. Democrats are immensely proud of all that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has done — through its achievements in science, technology and exploration — to better understand our place in the universe and inspire and educate generations of young people in this country to pursue careers in science. Space exploration is a reminder that our capacity for curiosity is limitless, and may be matched only by our ability to achieve great things if we work together. Democrats believe in continuing the spirit of discovery that has animated NASA’s exploration of space over the last half century. We will strengthen support for NASA and work in partnership with the international scientific community to launch new missions to space.”
The Republican Party Platform has a brief mention of space located between sections on reforming the civil service and supporting people living in America’s far flung territories.
The section is below. It doesn’t say that much, but at least it’s there. The Democratic Party Platform has no mention of space.
America’s Future in Space: Continuing this Quest
The exploration of space has been a key part of U.S. global leadership and has supported innovation and ownership of technology. Over the last half-century, in partnership with our aerospace industry, the work of NASA has helped define and strengthen our nation’s technological prowess. From building the world’s most powerful rockets to landing men on the Moon, sending robotic spacecraft throughout our solar system and beyond, building the International Space Station, and launching space-based telescopes that allow scientists to better understand our universe, NASA science and engineering have produced spectacular results. The technologies that emerged from those programs propelled our aerospace industrial base and directly benefit our national security, safety, economy, and quality of life. Through its achievements, NASA has inspired generations of Americans to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, leading to careers that drive our country’s technological and economic engines.
Today, America’s leadership in space is challenged by countries eager to emulate — and surpass — NASA’s accomplishments. To preserve our national security interests and foster innovation and competitiveness, we must sustain our preeminence in space, launching more science missions, guaranteeing unfettered access, and maintaining a source of high-value American jobs.
President Obama has charted a new mission for NASA to lead us to a future that builds on America’s legacy of innovation and exploration.
It’s a bit disappointing that the Democrats didn’t choose to spotlight NASA’s new direction and its accomplishments. This was an opportunity to rebut Mitt Romney’s charges that the space agency is floundering because it lacks clear goals and direction.
On the other hand, the National Platform is a policy document. Obama’s space policy is out there, is well known, and is unlikely to change much if he’s re-elected. There is after several years of rancorous political debate, bi-partisan agreement on moving forward on both commercial space for low-Earth orbit and more traditional programs such as the Space Launch System and Orion for deep space.