Isn’t is ironic–almost a perfect metaphor for the country’s outlook and attitude–that the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down today, ending NASA’s manned space flight program for the foreseeable future.

The Shuttle program began in April 1981, just after President Reagan took office. His Presidency was a breath of fresh air after the ‘malaise’ of the Carter years, with the Iranian hostages and the economic quagmire of ‘stagflation,’ gas lines, and the oil crisis.

The Shuttle’s initial flight seemed to symbolize the country’s re-discovered confidence and optimism, as we reached for the heavens once again.

Now we have the Obama years. The “New Normal” of 9% unemployment, $3.85/gal gas, non-existent housing sales, non-accountable finger-pointing blame, a feeling of “all we want to do is survive,” and no real sense that things are about to get better anytime soon.

And the Space Program has ended, unceremoniously. Instead of pushing the envelope and achieving higher and higher things, the country is looking instead for ways to be exempted from the suffocation of Obamacare and trying not to go bankrupt from all the Gov’t spending designed to turn us into a State-controlled European-styled Social Democracy, where everyone has the same, but no one has much, and optimism, enthusiasm, and the feeling of unlimited personal potential has been Government Regulated out of existence.

I remember watching the liftoff of Columbia in April 1981 and welling up as it ascended skyward. I felt a similar welling up this morning as I watched Atlantis touch down, but for totally different reasons.