Open letter to Sputnik

Dear Sputnik,

When people ask me, “What’s a metaphor for?” I always think of you. Or at least I’ve thought of you since about 6:18 PM PST yesterday evening, when President Obama used you as a metaphor to describe America’s comeback opportunity, our “Sputnik moment.”

See, the United States is feeling a little threatened at the moment by the prospect of another Superpower (cough China cough) surpassing our economy. The media is repeating phrases like, “The Decline of America”, and “China is Eating Our Lunch”, and “Speaking Of Lunch, Let’s Go To The Olive Garden After the Press Conference”. In response, the President invoked you, dear Sputnik, as a metaphor for that awkward moment when we realize that we owe China 1 trillion dollars – look! Shiny object! Ooo, it’s beeping!

Yeah. No offense, but I don’t know why President Obama didn’t go with a more current metaphor, like China’s proposal to replace the U.S. dollar, or China’s stealth fighter – both of which, while not necessarily shiny, work as real-life metaphors for China’s ass-whuppin’ capability.

But you don’t need to be a metaphor, already firmly ensconced in your place in history. In fact, I think some of your shiny coolness was lost in cold war propaganda machinations. Who remembers that your antennae had a nearly spherical radiation pattern that enabled you to transmit your legendary beeps heard ’round the world independently of your rotation? Or that your were filled with dry nitrogen? Or that you actually performed several scientific experiments (atmosphere, radiation, magnetic field, and cosmic rays), the results of which were encoded in the very beeps you sent back?

I, for one, had no idea. But perhaps, my shiny Russian friend, the President is asking me to consider his metaphor literally. We should respond to this threat of economic superiority by taking our jobs back from China, along with our technology, factories, and innovations, pay back our trillion bucks, and eject the politicians that sold out America into space and let them fall back to Earth in fiery splendor, like… satellites! Is that it? Is that how we can recapture our greatness?

“Пожалуйста, позвольте мне Бог напьюсь до смерти. ”