If you're old enough, you remember July 20, 1969, when 123 million of roughly 200 million Americans were riveted to their televisions, watching astronaut Neil Armstrong 240,000 miles from Earth. As he stepped off the Eagle -- the lunar landing module -- to become the first human to walk on the moon, Armstrong's words were heard by over a billion people around the globe: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
It was a moment that inspired America and even the world. And we all know that the impetus for that inspiring moment came nearly a decade earlier, on May 25, 1961, when then-President John F. Kennedy uttered this challenge to our Congress and country: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth."
Where are the presidents today who are visionary leaders and spur on American exceptionalism, excellence and the entrepreneurial spirit? Where are the leaders who call us to dream again -- to rise above the levels of maintenance and mediocrity? Where have American innovation and exploration gone?
I'm not overlooking the achievements of technological wizards, such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many others. I just believe that their types of drive, passion and vision should permeate every field of American life, especially government. If they did, we'd have a whole new generation of great and inspirational leaders.
But instead of raising America out of the muck and mire of global entanglements with new challenges and adventure, too many today believe that the only way forward is by simply shrinking back to our corner of isolationism and preservation. As a result, instead of casting visions, our leaders are crippling American values, apologizing for our power and surrendering our superiority and sovereignty.
Dinesh D'Souza's new blockbuster film, "America: Imagine a World Without Her," does an outstanding job of critiquing exactly what is killing American exceptionalism. We are surrendering to five major mentalities that are being perpetuated by a progressive drive from Washington to our public schools.
As John Zmirak summarized for The Blaze, liberals have convinced Americans that these five historical lies are historical truths about our people and republic:
"1. (America) was founded on conquest and genocide aimed at the Indians.
"2. It built its wealth on the backs of African slaves, and is essentially white supremacist.
"3. It expanded by unjustly stealing land from its neighbor Mexico.
"4. It is consistently imperialist and aggressive toward other countries.
"5. It is dominated by an unjust and exploitative capitalist system that harms the poor."
Dinesh summarizes the state of affairs well in the movie: "The American dream is shrinking because some of our leaders want it to shrink. Decline, in other words, has become a policy objective. And if this decline continues at the current pace, America as we know it will cease to exist. In effect, we will have committed national suicide."
Some might think that America or the world is too unstable for the type of forward-thinking visionary leadership that ushered in missions to reach for the stars. I would completely disagree.
Actually, there's no better time than now -- in the midst of a pessimistic, war-torn era -- to call and challenge the American people to the next level. Remember, when Kennedy called our nation onward and upward to the moon, the Cold War was happening, and the U.S. was flailing behind the space advances of the Soviet Union.
Maybe it's time again for leaders who have a bigger picture and can raise our vision beyond survival and management. Or to put it how Armstrong once said it: "Science has not yet mastered prophecy. We predict too much for the next year and yet far too little for the next 10."