Josh Lyman: Hey, you want to hear something cool? Voyager I just crossed the termination shock eight billion miles away. First human-made object to leave the solar system.
Donna Moss: Funny, I'm going through a little termination shock myself.
Josh Lyman: What?
Donna Moss: Suddenly this consuming interest in space just because some NASA administrator batted eyes at you?
Josh Lyman: You hate that I'm interested in this.
Donna Moss: What was your first hint?
Josh Lyman: That's perfect. Sit down. Sit. I need to play out an argument.
Josh Lyman: Everyone hates us.
Donna Moss: Inspiring start.
Josh Lyman: We're the most dominant nation on earth. But too often the face of our economic superiority is a corporate imperialism, our technological dominance shown by Smart bombs and Predator drones. We could do something else. Something generous and uplifting for all humankind. We could send the first representatives from Earth, to walk on another planet. We could land people on Mars. Needs work.
Donna Moss: Needs something.
Josh Lyman: Yeah, that inspiration thing.
Josh Lyman: Voyager, in case it's ever encountered by extra-terrestrials, s carrying photos of life on Earth, greetings in 55 languages and a collection of music from Gregorian chants to Chuck Berry. Including "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" by '20s bluesman Blind Willie Johnson, whose stepmother blinded him when he was seven by throwing lye in is his eyes after his father had beat her for being with another man. He died, penniless, of pneumonia after sleeping bundled in wet newspapers in the ruins of his house that burned down. But his music just left the solar system.
Donna Moss: Okay, that got me.
Leo McGarry: My generation never got the future it was promised... Thirty-five years later, cars, air travel is exactly the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped.
Josh Lyman: The personal computer...
Leo McGarry: A more efficient delivery system for gossip and pornography? Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon?
Alex Moreau: Everything, every atom in our bodies, comes from exploding stars. I guess Joni Mitchell was right: "We are stardust."
Josh Lyman: Or, put another way, nuclear waste.
Jed Bartlet: It's telling that the physicists involved in the creation of these weapons became the most fervid opponents of their use. Einstein, Oppenheimer, Szilard. Hans Bethe wrote: "If we fight a war and win it with H-bombs, what history will remember is not the ideas we were fighting for but the methods we used to accomplish them. These methods will be compared to the warfare of Genghis Khan, who brutally killed every last inhabitant of Persia."
Alex Moreau: If the theory of democracy is that people have the most direct connection to officials at the most local level, how come everyone can name the president but no one knows who their assemblyman is?