Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Star Trek Lessons

To paraphrase Spock’s last words in Star Trek II – The Wrath of Kahn, "I have been and always will be Star Trek’s friend."

Jeri Ryan - 7 of 9

With the exception of Star Trek – Deep Space Nine; I have become, admittedly begrudgingly at times, a fan of every spinoff of the original series. Initially, I had a tough time accepting Captain Picard in Star Trek: Next Generation, although I immediately took to Mr. Data; Star Trek: Voyager’s Kate Mulgrew was fine as Captain Janeway, but the show more than made up for her command with the addition of the spray painted costume of Jeri Ryan as “Seven of Nine.” Scott Bakula, as Captain Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise was perfectly cast. I could never get into Sisko’s character in DS9, or for that matter, the politics of Cardassians, Romulans, or Klingons. I always thought the Vulcans took themselves a bit too seriously and I never cared for cultural lessons in the honor of Klingons; even after they became part of the Federation.

There are those reading this blog and know exactly what I’m talking about; and there are others wondering what the heck I’m talking about. I’d suggest setting your VCR to record a few of the original Star Trek episodes and the second version of the program, Star Trek: Next Generation. More than sci-fi space shoot-outs, these programs always had a moral dilemma to address. The shows’ writers looked for current events and wrote episodes addressing the foolishness of our prejudices, wars, economics, and refusal to accept changes that could benefit mankind. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from the program: in spite of its setting and relatively early stage special effects.

James T. Kirk
Many know the “Mission” of the original Star Trek Enterprise: “To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Unfortunately, Captain Kirk’s five year mission was cancelled after three years. Five years later, Captain Jean-Luc Picard took his Enterprise D “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.”  Women were now in space and the show became politically correct.

Jean-Luc Picard
The given of each Star Trek series was that intelligent life exists in our solar system. In today’s state of the world, we wouldn’t have to leave the planet to search for intelligent beings. A five year mission to Washington, DC should be ample time to find intelligent life. Both Spock and Mr. Data would be challenged to find anything that resembles a thriving species, especially if they concentrated on the House and Senate. And what kind of plot would the writers create if they focused on our election process and political campaign promises. Would they not surmise we’re a species of lying, two faced, unethical, and immoral beings incapable of mutual cooperation? In just the past two weeks, an allegedly “lame duck” session has been remarkably un-duck-like. Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell: repealed. Tax Cuts/Unemployment Extension: Passed. Strategic Arms Treaty: days away from resolution. A 9/11 Health Bill passed. Finally, two sides of our species work together. It’s what the “Federation” of American citizens has urged our counsel (representatives) to achieve.
And yet, the moment a bill is passed, each side retreats to its camp and takes phaser shots at the “enemy” (Republican/Democrat – Klingon/Romulan … you choose, it doesn’t matter).  Mr. Data would no doubt be confused by the lack of logic; Mr. Spock would simply raise an eyebrow and say, “fascinating.”

No-one in government wants wasteful spending, but no-one in government seems willing to stop it. So, to keep their job (something millions of other Americans can’t find), politicians compromise. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the ultimate Survivor episode decided by the Tribal Counsel. Maybe we should elect Jeff Probst as the Majority Leader.

It’s no wonder little is accomplished in DC; it really doesn’t matter who is at the helm of the Enterprise. The writers of Star Trek would have a field day with this topic, because with phasers set on “stun” little gets done.

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1 comment:

  1. Good post...It's what I have yammered about too. Politicians have one keep getting elected and stay the party line. I would like them to do something for America, not the Republican, Democrats or Tea Party...