Mark Kelly at National Prayer Breakfast - Good Can Come From Tragedy

Here's the whole thing... around 1:36:50 is when Kelly talks about being an astronaut:

Caught in traffic yesterday (I was out trying to find salt for our steps in the ice) I heard Mark Kelly's speech at the National Prayer breakfast. (Obama also gave a great turn.) I think the speech is worth listening to, although I'm sure much of it will fall on deaf ears. The thing that hit me the hardest was when Kelly talked about how, as an astronaut, he'd learned that team-work is how you get things done in the face of problems or challenges.

Quoting his brother Scott, Mark said this:

"What we do here in space is incredibly challenging... the way we address those challenges is through teamwork. And I'd like to see more teamwork, with more people, not only in government, but everyone in meeting the challenges our country faces. Hopefully, if anything good can come from this, it's that we learn to work better together."

Hearing this it occurred to me why the Glenn Becks of the world anger me -- the constant search for someone to *blame* and something to be a *victim* of is tiring and annoying. We're Americans. We ought to be figuring out how to work together better, and not just in the service of our ideologies, or "teams" or our own pocketbooks.

In my opinion, the American Experiment and American Exceptionalism is not rooted in our military might, or economic prowess or even our devotion to our particular form of capitalism and republican democracy. The American Experiment is simply this... can a group of people live, work and prosper together as a nation even if they have a multitude of creeds, nationals, ethnicities and backgrounds. And can we decide to be on the same team, even as we debate the best ways to get things done? As we can see from the tenor of the discussions that have surrounding the Tucson tragedy and the themes that Obama and others around him have expounded, this is something that is at least of concern to a good number of people observing the current state of this country.

Over on Kaze's most recent column: he said this in the comments:

Unity. Togetherness. That is the ONLY way we will ever win the battles that cripple our communities and our schools. It's really just that simple. If one parent leaves, then another leaves, then another leaves. Then no one cares. The we get teachers who don't care to educate our students. Then we get parents who have to work two and three jobs and can't go to PTA meetings. Instead of the parents who are able to go and care enough to take care of the needs of their kids and those whose parents can't be there.

He starts the entry talking about African-American parents, but I think it extends to us all. And it's a tough conversation. No one wants their kids in failing schools, and yet we need to figure out how to work together to build up JPS (which has some great schools, too, by the way), just as we need to work together to build up Jackson, even if we choose to live in the lower densities of the suburbs. (I prefer the .4 mile commute from Fondren to Fondren, but that's me.)

And, hell, the teamwork thing might actually be fun. It's gotta beat all the bellyaching and nitpicking we've all been guilty of in the past few decades.


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