The Eclipse: Let’s Do That Again In a Moment of Darkness, We Found Light

More than 5,000 people gathered to view the Aug. 21 solar eclipse at Oregon State University (photo by Theresa Hogue)

A hip-hop producer, a WWII veteran and Trump supporter, and an autistic lesbian pastry chef: those are just a few of the people I met in Nebraska during the Great American Eclipse. I also met a Chinese-American woman from Seattle, a couple of white, plus-sized soybean farmers from the Midwest, and an African-American woman from Brooklyn with braids down to her hips.

Everyone got along just fine. The darker it got, the more we beamed. Seems you just can’t be hostile when you’re looking up at the awesome spectacle of a solar eclipse. Now, I’m not one to believe in celestial signs, but if that’s what it takes to bring us together, I say let’s it do it again.

As a nation after Charlottesville, we haven’t been so bitterly divided since the civil rights marches and the Vietnam War. At least then we had Walter Cronkite to lean on for a calm, professional newsman’s view of the world. Each weeknight, he’d close the CBS Evening News by saying, “And that’s the way it is.”

Of course, that wasn’t the way it was. Much was left out, and no human enterprise can produce an entirely objective set of reports. But the news business was a profession, one I belonged to for many years. It had standards we aspired to, and more importantly, it had editors who kicked the stuffing out of every story before it got to print or air. “How do we know that’s true?” “Where’s the second source?” “What’s missing from the story?” Those are some of the questions I’d be pummeled with when I was a daily reporter.

Today, the adrenaline pumps of cable news operate ‘round the clock, giving our nation a priapic state of hate. Anyone experiencing this for four hours or more a day should seek immediate medical help.

Unfortunately, recovery from ideological poisoning is not covered by insurance, and if it were, the Republicans would repeal it. Uh-oh. There I go. Friends, don’t throw away those super-duper dark glasses. Let’s bring back the eclipse.

There’s another one predicted (thank you, science) to streak across the continental US in just seven years. Frankly, I don’t think we can wait that long. Surely, if we can put a man on the moon, we can move the moon so that it blots out the sun, say, once every quarter.

All it would take is the judicious use of hydrogen bombs placed just outside the moon’s orbit. NASA could plot a different track each time. We could darken each section of the country in turn, give Hawaii its shot, and then win back friends in other nations with free eclipse runs.

With just over 4,500 nuclear weapons in our stockpile, the US can nudge the moon this way and that and still have plenty of nukes left over to deter North Korea. Additionally, the quarterly swathing of the world in lunar shade will help keep us cool until a day when our government scientists are again allowed to say “climate change”—and do something about it.

Best of all, it will give us the chance to repeat that glorious moment of gazing up in wonder as Americans undivided.