Hi folks, recently in responding to a NASA survey I had what I thought was a pretty good idea and one that will not work without sharing.
A NASA PAC!.
A Political Action Committee to champion the causes of NASA and it's objectives in both the government and legislative arenas. Think about this for a moment. A lobbying organization similar to the ones for political groups. Or the "pro or anti" PACs for the many public arguments about personal weaponry, abortion and religion, industries and the environment. Only this one will push NASA's interest!
Yes, I realize that other space advocacy groups already exist. The Planetary and The Mars Societies being among the most recognizable of them. PACs are niche entities. On the TV ads they promote only one specific cause or politician. The PAC I envision is a NASA specific PAC. Specific to lobbying government in favor of NASA's goals.
Among some of the things it could pull off:
1) Lobby for an amendment to place NASA beyond the political-vagaries of each election-cycle by fixing NASA's funding to a level pegged to the national-budget or the GDP, hopefully voiding further-use of NASA as a political-football. More importantly, this gives NASA credibility, confidence, and the ability to design and execute real (and not just notional) long-range and even multi-decadal plans and missions which are a necessity in aeronautical-research and space-exploration.
2) Lobby for relaxing any prohibitions that prevent NASA from self-promotion. This could help set the record straight in so many ways and in so many places. Helping debunk the many urban legends and myths that surround NASA and it's accomplishments. And besides, as we can see from all the 'disavowed' political ads this time of year, the PAC itself could promote NASA's accomplishments, no law against that!
3) Sponsor legislators that are pro NASA and/or pro Science.
4) Dispel untruths or half truths about NASA used in the political arena by politicians against each other.
5) Lobby the public and the government for an increase to NASA's Budget.
NASA itself, of course, cannot have anything to do with a PAC and will in fact have to keep it's distance from any such entity.
PACs are pretty much self sustaining. Operating cash comes (popular causes generates a lot [mountains] of money!) from the folks that are like-minded. But political-connectedness and deep pockets are required to get the ball rolling.
I am, admittedly, not a well-connected political-operator type that can organize or run or admin a PAC. I'm more the t-shirt wearing activist type, I'll volunteer! So I'm putting it out there for people to consider and maybe someone more creditable will think it's a good idea as well and run with i.
As for me, I am out and about seeding the idea in as many places as possible so that maybe, just maybe, one day it will germinate in the mind or minds of the folks who can follow it thru.
If you wish, read my submissions to NASA's 'solicitation for public comment' for more ideas regarding NASA at http://blog.chino.com/
If you "don't disagree" with the concepts in my submissions (or even if you do
, I'd appreciate if you re-post or share the blog. We could use more vocality on this side of the argument!
Please, let me know if this is just blowing smoke, or if the readers of NSF thinks this is a valid idea that I should continue to seed.
... imagine, one day we might even see TV ads like: "Do you want to see us continue to spend more money funding the same old tired wars? Or do you want us to explore the Solar System‽. Call and tell your congress-person NOW!"... ... and at the bottom of the screen, the names and telephone numbers of the local congressional reps slowly crawls by*...