Was America lacking in morale and hope prior to February 1962?

From the New York Times’ e-mail today:

50 Years Later, Celebrating John Glenn’s Feat
The astronaut’s first orbit of Earth - 50 years ago this month - revived national morale and hope.
Now I happen to have a pretty good memory of the day John Glenn orbited the earth three times in his Mercury capsule. Earlier in the day we watched the lift-off on television. A little later my mother drove me to a store in the center of our town, Union, New Jersey, where I bought a pair of pants. In the store a radio was on, telling us about the still-continuing flight. Everyone’s attention was on it. During the day, wherever we went, we listened to the radio coverage of the first American in orbit the earth.

I must say that I have no memory that we were in a state of hopelessness before John Glenn’s mission. In fact we were pretty excited about Alan Shepard’s sub-orbital flight—followed by Gus Grissom’s—the preceding year. And apart from manned space flight, it’s not my memory that people were hopeless and in despair or anything like that in those days. I would say the opposite was true. But the Times, and the liberal cultural elites generally, work full time at making us believe that the default condition of America—at least prior to the total liberal takeover of America—was despair.

What they don’t tell us is that ever since the total liberal takeover of America, we all live under the reign of fear.

- end of initial entry -

David G. writes:

You may remember that a few years ago I cited your 2000 piece, “My Bush Epiphany,” in an article that I wrote for my local newspaper. The topic of the article was the disappearance of our national heroes and their accomplishments in favor of multicultural events and causes. For example, Alan Shepard, the first American in space, went up on May 5, 1961. Now what did George Bush do on May 5th during his tenure? He celebrated Cinco de Mayo! At any rate, in answer to your question about the state of the American spirit prior to February 1962, here is a CNN account of Shepard’s May 5, 1961 re-entry from space:

As Freedom 7 decelerated from 5,180 miles an hour to 500 miles an hour in about 30 seconds, Shepard was squeezed by a tremendous pressure about 10 times the force of Earth’s gravity. Shepard splashed down 40 miles from Bermuda and was hoisted aboard a Marine helicopter that took him to the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain. A day later, he was in Washington where President John F. Kennedy Jr. awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal, and a parade in Washington two days after that drew 250,000 people.

It hardly seems that we were lacking in morale and hope then. How many of our countrymen today associate May 5th with Alan Shepard and the inaugural feat of the American Space Age?

Buck writes:

It appears that The Times has removed John Noble Wilford’s remark about how America was in need of a hope-and-morale boost, and replaced it with, “In the winter of 1962, the nation needed a hero.”

LA replies:

Interesting. But the new sentence still reeks of the psychoanalytical condescension with which the Times typically speaks of Americans. The idea of the amended passage is still that we were in some psychological deficit prior to the emergence of John Glenn. Where did they get this? In reality, I don’t think a single person in the fall of 1961 would have said, “Gosh, we’re in need of a hero.”

This is just another instance of the weird, alienated, and alienating way the Times portrays America. Remember that for everyone at the Times, the view of late ’50s and early ’60s America as shown in the evil movie Pleasantville is simply the unquestioned truth.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 15, 2012 07:05 AM | Send

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