I never witnessed UFOs during my 20,000 hours in the air as a military and commercial aviator. Like most pilots, my career was marked by hours of boredom interjected by moments of sheer terror. However, there were some revelations about our physical world I found fascinating.
For instance, every physical phenomenon, regardless of its permanent appearance, is transitory. Thunderstorms appear visually and on radar as dangerous impenetrable walls, but they often dissipate within a few minutes. Runways that seem so permanent must constantly be re-surfaced and realigned with our planet's continually shifting magnetic pole.
The only constant in our physical universe is change. Physicists such as Isaac Newton believed for centuries the only constant was time until Albert Einstein illustrated that even time is not constant and changes significantly with both speed and gravitational force. Change is true not only of our physical world but also for the moral and social fabric of our culture.
In light of such change, we desire a constant that offers stability when the emotional storms we encounter toss us about with no clear direction. We need a moral compass, but in an ever-increasing godless world many people become their own little god, defining their own direction of right and wrong. There is no clearer example of this than the argument over abortion. Who is anyone to impose sanctimonious morals on anyone else?
I recall an incident at the very beginning of my aviation career that illustrates the drastic change in our moral values. I was a freshman cadet at the Air Force Academy, and a classmate, perhaps the most intelligent and capable among us, shared with our commanding officer that his girlfriend was pregnant. The problem was resolved instantly. Cadets could not be married during the four years at the Academy, so the young man was dismissed to assume responsibility for the situation. It was a stark reminder to the rest of us that there are consequences for actions, and, as aspiring officers, we had to be responsible for those consequences.
I had no idea that a Supreme Court decision rendered almost a year earlier, Roe v. Wade, would change those seemingly solid moral foundations forever. The left initially claimed that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare," as Bill Clinton reiterated in 1996. However, the Democratic Party shifted further left and further from any sense of morality. Now, any limitation on abortion is decried. The New York legislature recently declared that abortions would be legal until birth — and Democrats cheered vengefully as the governor signed the bill. Take that, you moralistic Republicans and self-righteous Christians!
Not to be outdone, Virginia Democratic Delegate Kathy Tran introduced a similar bill, allowing abortion even after the mother goes into labor. Gov. Ralph Northam tried to defend her position by explaining how it would work: "If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."
During my last USAF assignment in Athens, Greece, my family and I spent several days exploring the Mani Peninsula, where the ancient Spartan culture once thrived. Our guide led us to the base of a high cliff, soaring perhaps 200 to 300 feet above us. From there the Spartans disposed of babies they didn't want — a choice American women have made nearly 60 million times since Roe v. Wade. In fact, throwing a baby off a cliff is probably less barbaric than the horrifying abortion procedures Gov. Northam defended.
Sparta was a powerful and efficient society, but it had no moral compass. I pray to God our nation will reverse the insane barbaric course we have plotted, lest, like ancient Sparta, we are also doomed.
Roger Smith, a local author, is a frequent contributor to the Times Free Press.