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In 1962, John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech challenging America to send a man to the moon by the end of the decade. As I write this, the United States is on the verge of ending its manned space program for the forseeable future. Unfortunately, this means a proud 50-year history of American bravery in space exploration will come to an end. American supremacy is space, the concept that Kennedy advocated, will be lost as only the Russians and Chinese will have the capability to put men in space. This will potentially leave the United States at risk militarily.

The idea of retreating from space, unfortunately, is just another example of retreating from difficult situations in America today. In Kennedy’s speech, he specifically said that we should go to the moon because it was hard. These challenges make us grow, learn, and become a better country. Our leaders today run away from confronting the tough issues. Leaders from both parties are speaking about the dangers of our growing national debt and deficit. They all acknowledge that our present situation is unsustainable. However, nobody seems willing to do anything but make symbolic gestures at putting America on a path to fiscal responsibility.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid take up a larger and larger portion of our budget every year. Eventually, these programs will take up the entire budget and keep growing. This is a situation that simply cannot be sustained. However, these programs are extremely popular with the American people. Thus, politicians are unwilling to do what is necessary and trim these programs into sustainability because they are afraid of losing electoral support. The budget is this decade’s moon challenge. Overcoming the current situation looks impossible. However, I believe that we need to confront these issues soon and take Kennedy’s advice in doing so, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”

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