Poor Jeff Bezos has been getting flak for sending crews of rich and famous people into space for brief rides on his Blue Origin rocket ships. It is an elitist, money-squandering enterprise, the critics say. I say, give Bezos a break.

What is happening now with rich guys and their rockets mirrors the early days of the airline industry, an industry that now allows millions of average people to travel fast and far every day. The process begins with a few intrepid souls, like the early pilots and astronauts, who risk their lives as systems and machinery are perfected. Then, those able to pay the high initial cost of a ticket jump in as the industry builds. Eventually, almost everyone gets to hop aboard to fly to Omaha to visit grandma or zip up to the Moon for spring break.

So, Bezos does not need to apologize for spending part of his vast fortune on big toys that fly beyond the stratosphere. Nevertheless, if he really wants to show how humanity can benefit from his treks beyond Earth, he should offer one-way flights to select individuals – and by that I mean particularly obnoxious and dangerous public figures. Send them off to some distant space station where these permanent departees can live away from the rest of us.

There are numerous worthy candidates for this program, of course, but my selection for the first one-way crew would be Fox News blabbermouth Tucker Carlson; Senate Republican leader and human roadblock Mitch McConnell; House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who needs to go before he ever gets close to holding the speaker’s gavel; and, of course, the avatar of America’s worst impulses, Donald Trump.

Bid adieu to those four, and chances would be vastly improved for successfully handling climate change, the pandemic, voting rights, poverty, hunger and a host of other challenges.

So, Mr. Bezos, what do you say? Do you want to help save the planet and save democracy? Start handing out those one-way tickets.

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