LETTER: So much for the dawn of a new era

Saturday, July 20 marked 50 years since the first man walked on the Moon…

To the Editor,

Saturday, July 20 marked 50 years since the first man walked on the Moon. I can vividly remember listening to the event on a crackling transistor radio on the bridge of a bulk-carrier, keeping watch as a young Chief Mate sailing along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Just the day before, while steaming past Martha’s Vineyard, the same little radio had relayed the minute-by-minute drama surrounding Senator Ted Kennedy driving his Oldsmobile off Chappaquiddick Bridge, with all the gory details of American politics laid bare. The clarion call on July 20, 1969 was that it was the “Dawn Of A New Era” and there certainly have been countless technological advances in just about every aspect of our lives since the Moon landing. Yet there was turmoil back then with bad news coming from Vietnam every day, and the world in the grip of the Cold War.

Scanning last Saturday’s headlines exactly a half-century later makes one wonder just how much humanity has learned and changed in the intervening years. The lead story on the international news channels was about a British tanker seized by Iranian authorities while traversing the Strait of Hormuz. Video clips show Revolutionary Guards rappelling down ropes from a helicopter onto the vessel’s deck, in the exact fashion that their British Commando counterparts seized an Iranian tanker as it traversed the Strait of Gibraltar two weeks before.

The next news item showed many thousands of British protesters filling the streets of London, demanding that they remain in the European Union. Immediately afterwards, reports showed maybe 100,000 in Hong Kong protesting that China honour all the democratic terms agreed upon when the territory ceased to be a British colony 20 years ago. More huge protests followed in a news report from Puerto Rico, with many thousands of citizens demanding their Governor and other elected officials resign after exchanging disparaging remarks about women and members of the LGBTQ community.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, a firestorm was erupting over the crowd at a presidential campaign event chanting, “Send her back.” The partisan crowd were referring to a US politician born in Somalia, and a legal immigrant many years ago, who was among a group of Democratic Congresswomen engaged in a toxic war of words with the US President on social media.

The Persian Gulf is a powder-keg ready to explode, adding to wars already raging in Yemen, Syria and other countries in the volatile region. There’s political unrest on several continents, and all the gory details of American politics are laid bare once again.

So much for the Dawn Of A New Era, eh?

Bernie Smith,

Parksville

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