Paine in space? Not quite. But these powerful words from the first Latino NASA astronaut, Franklin Chang Diaz sound like Tom’s famous words:
“I think of myself as a mixture of many cultures. I don’t think of myself as, you know, half this or a quarter this or anything like that. I’ve lived in the United States now most of my life, so I feel very much American, even though my Costa Rican roots are still strong and most of my family is still in Costa Rica. My children were all born in the United States and their families are all-American families. So it’s just a typical immigrant situation, where you end up getting absorbed and melting into the society.
The United States is a multicultural society, which in itself forms its own unique culture. So that’s kind of the way I see myself. And I don’t think of myself as a citizen of a country anymore. Actually, I think of myself as a citizen of the world, of the planet, and many astronauts will tell you that. They come back realizing that they really are citizens of the planet and not citizens of a country.”
Note: Thomas Paine wrote, “My country is the world and my religion is to do good” in The Rights of Man, Part II (1792). His feet were firmly on earth, but his mind was orbiting.