Many look back on the Apollo 11 lunar landing as a crowning achievement of humanity and pinnacle of a time when America was able to unite and accomplish great things. But the Atlantic points out that there was widespread public discontent over the propagandistic aspects and vast expense spent on the moon mission while the most basic problems of life on Earth went unaddressed:
We’ve told ourselves a convenient story about the moon landing and national unity, but there’s almost no evidence that our astronauts united even America, let alone the world. Polls both by USA Today and Gallup have shown support for the moon landing has increased the farther we’ve gotten away from it. 77 percent of people in 1989 thought the moon landing was worth it; only 47 percent felt that way in 1979.
Many black papers questioned the use of American funds for space research at a time when many African Americans were struggling at the margins of the working class. An editorial in the Los Angeles Sentinel, for example, argued against Apollo in no uncertain terms, saying, “It would appear that the fathers of our nation would allow a few thousand hungry people to die for the lack of a few thousand dollars while they would contaminate the moon and its sterility for the sake of ‘progress’ and spend billions of dollars in the process, while people are hungry, ill-clothed, poorly educated (if at all).”