I was glad to see that President Obama praised the heroic effort going on in Fargo, ND, to hold back the rising Red River. These people have done superhuman work in what still may be a losing effort, but no matter what Nature does, this is the kind of thing we should keep before us as examples of human nobility and grace under pressure, rather than wasting our brainpower on the pathetic carnival of the OctoMom, the latest rap thug in jail, the latest pedophile principal and the like.
We become what we behold. Look long enough at the sleazy parade of freak-show culture, and you come to think that’s all the human gamble has to offer. To maintain some species-self-respect, not to mention sanity and happiness, we should deliberately seek out behavior that is admirable, intelligent, and represents excellence. Whenever one side of the scale gets too heavy with idiots, charlatans and freaks, put something higher and better on the other side of the scale.
Examples of the good and the great are always there, if we just look. Remember the Mars Rovers that landed on that planet about five years ago? Here were these fantastic machines, dreamed up and created by people, sent across the universe, working spectacularly and exploring for months, years, far longer than anyone had expected (and amazingly, still going). And yet, how many of us, especially young people, even knew about this triumph? No doubt we were fixated on last night’s bitchy exchange among the judges on American Idol, or wondering how Kid Rock (there’s a piece of work) got away with spouting the F-word on some awards show.
As Ayn Rand said of the first moon landing: “What hath Man wrought?” Quite a bit, much of it wonderful, if we didn’t let the lowest common denominator monopolize our minds.
The latest on the Fargo effort is here. If you’re the praying type, send one for these folks: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/us/29webflood.html?_r=1&hp