There was once a time when parts of our world had still yet to be explored. When certain realms of this planet could only be imagined in our minds, and not in pictures or videos.
The mysteries were so great that it took the most undaunted explorers and adventurers to figure them out.
Circumnavigating the Earth by boat. Hiking the United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Flying from New York to France.
At some point, these things had never happened before.
And, of course — orbiting the Earth.
The man who became the first American to accomplish the latter, and who reignited the imaginations of Americans while providing a patriotic boost to the country during the height of the Cold War, John Glenn, passed away on Thursday at the age of 95.
Glenn, a World War II and Korean War veteran who flew more than 100 combat missions, became a national hero and icon when he became the fifth American in space on Feb. 20, 1962 at age 40 and got a 360-degree view of what our planet looks like.
He then served as a United States Senator from Ohio for 24 years.
Now that you have some context about this great American, whose achievements pioneered exploration and redefined the abilities of the human spirit, let’s fast forward to our present day President-Elect, Donald J. Trump, a man who was granted five draft deferments during the Vietnam War and who built an empire out of firing people.
And a man who, despite the amazing power and influence he holds over millions of people, still can’t resist bullying people on Twitter.
His latest target? Union leader Chuck Jones.
After Trump boasted last week about saving more than 1,100 jobs at Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturing company, Jones, a union leader who represents Carrier, spoke to CNN and the Washington Post about how Trump lied about the number he jobs he actually saved.
Jones was naturally upset when he learned that Trump was bragging about saving jobs when some 550 of his colleagues will still be laid off, and all the while, Carrier will receive $7 million in tax breaks.
So what does Trump do? Post two tweets, claiming Jones has done a “terrible job” leading his union — even though Mike Pence once praised him.
And because there’s a lot of crazies out there who feel emboldened by Trump’s rise, Jones has now received death threats.
This is the man who is now our president. Who can’t handle a single word of criticism without tweeting about it. And who sees nothing wrong with targeting private citizens.
Once upon a time, the dreamers of our nation looked up to men like John Glenn, who saw no boundaries to our country’s ability to innovate and inspire. Thirty-seven years after his historic flight, he took to the heavens again, becoming the oldest man to fly into space at age 77.
And now we elect men like Donald Trump.
How far we’ve come.