The New York Times and Washington Post used the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space flight and moon landing to push a “political knife fight,” said Robert Charles, spokesperson for the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), in a Wednesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
On Wednesday, the New York Times framed the Apollo program as a “failure” in terms of female astronautical participation.
In an article titled, “To Make It to the Moon, Women Have to Escape Earth’s Gender Bias,” the New York Times claimed, “The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. But NASA can learn from its failures as it aims to send women to the moon and beyond.”
The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space program, it becomes difficult to move past it. https://t.co/Mt7rVLgAaf
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 17, 2019
The Washington Post similarly highlighted the demographic composition of the 1960s-era space program as largely white and male, stating it was difficult to spot a “person of color” in photos of the program’s teams.
The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male https://t.co/x5vQBuU4IN
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 16, 2019
Charles addressed the New York Times and Washington Post‘s political framing of the Apollo 11 program.
“These men were exceptional,” said Charles of the Apollo 11 crew. “Could they have been women? I suppose in a different era and time they will or could be, but in that moment of time, we should be prouder than proud and stop turning everything into some sort of a political knife fight. It’s just absurd.”
Charles continued, “I look back and I think to myself, if you cannot be proud as an American of what America accomplished as one nation under God — 250 million people, 400 thousand engineers, with the future of the world in the balance — if you can’t be proud of what we did then, I don’t think you can ever be proud of America, and I think if you can’t, then you better start thinking about why you should be.”
“A celebration of all this occurred just this past weekend at the Reagan Library,” recalled Charles, “and that event brought in such a great cross-section of America. The national anthem was sung by Gloria Gaynor. A lot of the other entertainment was Tommy James. You had a lot of astronauts there. You had engineers. You had current private sector rocketry folks. Every variety of American was there, and I think that is the spirit of America.”
Charles went on, “Forget skin color. Forget all of these things. We are about the ideals we believe in and whether we really believe in them, and if we believe in them, then discount the fact — or just accept the fact — that human beings are imperfect. We will always fail the perfect line, but we will always try, and not much of the rest of the world throws themselves at achievement the way we do, and we do it together. It’s pulling together or pulling apart. When we pull together in one direction, there’s no stopping us, and the Apollo program — Apollo 7 through 17 — are just the living embodiment of the greatness of humankind focused on an outcome with ideals behind them and a sense of faith in the future.”
The Apollo 11 mission epitomized American greatness and exceptionalism, determined Charles.
“When push came to shove — when democracy, liberty, freedom, and the rest of the future depended on it — by God, don’t count the Americans out,” Charles stated. “There will always turn the key and make it happen.”
Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Mike Collins put their lives on the line for the mission, noted Charles.
Charles stated, “Buzz, Neil, and I think Mike — I had read — got together at one point and said to themselves, ‘What were the chances of making it?’ and they thought the chances were two out of three that we would get out there and get back alive, and that was good enough for them.”
Charles remembered how Walt Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7, reflected his NASA astronaut successors’ willingness to die for the space mission.
Charles recalled, “My son has asked [Walt Cunningham], ‘How come you weren’t afraid? The first one that got to the pad — Apollo 1 — had burned on the pad for reasons that had to do with technology,’ and Walt said, ‘Well, this will be hard for you to process, but we thought, number one, what was good for America was good for the world. These ideals were true and we really were dedicated to them, so we were willing to risk everything. Secondly, we were all fighter pilots. We made that decision years and years ago. We didn’t have to make it again. So was I afraid or thinking about it? I didn’t even think about it. We were focused on our mission. Our mission was to make this happen for America, and by making it happen for America, the free world would stay free, and that was enough for us.'”
Charles concluded, “They all made that decision, and they all believed in America. If we believe in ourselves, and we believe again in the things that made us great to begin with, we won’t have any problems staying great. We just have to keep coming back to the belief.”
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