Moral Cost of American Exceptionalism

Space shuttle Challenger unnecessarily blows up shortly after liftoff on January 26, 1986
Space shuttle Challenger unnecessarily blows up shortly after liftoff on January 26, 1986

American exceptionalism becomes unforgivable when human beings become expendable in order to save costs, make deadlines or protect image and nowhere is that more evident than in the disaster of Space shuttle Challenger on January 26, 1987 along with its seven crew members ~ and all because of a faulty booster O ring seal which NASA managers ignored in order to stick to their timetable. Unfortunately, this was later the same story for the Space shuttle Columbia disaster, with its seven crewmembers, on February 1, 2003 when NASA managers refused to examine the left wing before reentry concluding that the crew could not have fixed the problem if the damage was confirmed:


by Allen L Roland


Unfortunately, this is the shocking sad truth of much of the Bush/Obama version of American “Exceptionalism” ~ any means to the end regardless of the cost, both humanly and morally. It certainly applies to corporate greed and unjust wars, it applies to a deeply unpopular and corporate controlled congress, it applies to misguided government policy, both domestically and foreign ~ and it also applies to many agencies within the government, including NSA and NASA. It’s a top down mindset and it infects all of us ~ think GM’s recent deadly avoidance decision with faulty starter ignition switches which cost at least 13 American lives.

The late Charley Reese summed it up correctly ~ “Congress – seems to never know what the CIA and other intelligence agencies are doing. Like the Romans, they no longer talk of the republic or liberty. And like the Romans, the American people, or most of them anyway, don’t seem to care. … Like the Romans, we no longer have a citizen army but professional legions, and whether they wear jackboots or not, some federal officers seem to regard Americans with about the same compassion as the Praetorian Guard had for the plebes.

As in Rome, the air is full of suspicion, intrigues and conspiracies, real or imagined, and the air reeks of greed and opportunism. As those on the Tiber, the rulers on the Potomac have grown suspicious of the people, don’t trust them and, in some cases fear them. And, as in Rome, they grovel in luxury while taking 40 cents on the dollar out of the sweat of working people to pay for corn and circuses to keep the mob satisfied.” – — Charley Reese – (1937-2013) American syndicated columnist

Now take a few minutes and watch the cost of this arrogance and hubris as seen in our Space program and please remember ~ we are paying for this ongoing major moral malfunction of American exceptionalism.

20 minute video Documentary ~ Major Malfunction: Revisiting Challenger / and Columbia

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget. ” – Arundhati Roy

About the Author: Allen L Roland is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist. He is also a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his web site at He also guest hosts a Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations via email at [email protected].

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