Spoiler alert: Star Trek Discovery
I'm about to let my geek colors fly and embrace my inner nerdiness. You have been forewarned.
I've always been a fan of Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry and his vision for our future, a brave future exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where no one has gone before.
In short, because volumes could be written on the topic, Roddenberry's vision is a type of utopia centered around human society's future evolution as we reach out to the worlds and subsequent civilizations around us within the stars. It's a time in earth's future when we've evolved to a point, not of perfection, but to one of being able to look beyond our more selfish individual base instincts to one of reaching out to other. Other in terms of others not apparent, on the surface, to be like us at all; other in terms of embracing the inalienable reality of the importance of respecting life outside of ourselves; other in terms of attempting to understand, support, and embrace infinite diversity within infinite combinations; other in terms of the immutable truth that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is for everyone, not just ourselves. This is what Star Trek has always meant to me. This is the vantage point from which I go forth into my own exploration of life in the universe around me. That's why "To Love So Well The World" exists for me as a blog. Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto.
Yesterday something I watched made me weep almost uncontrollably, multiple times. No, not the presidential debate, sad as it was, but rather the newest episode of Star Trek Discovery. I would suggest that if you don't want to encounter a SPOILER DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.
In the third season of Star Trek Discovery, the intrepid crew of the USS Discovery has been forced, in order to save the universe, to leave their own time period in a one way trip and head into the very distant and unknown future. In this new future, they discover that the United Federation of Planets (UFP), once a great unifying force in the galaxy dedicated to the above mentioned vision and it's exploratory arm Starfleet has been all but destroyed. They then begin their quest to unravel the mystery of what has brought down the United Federation of Planets and all they hold dear while at the same time trying to discover what this means to them, their identity, and their mission.
Much like another Star Trek series, Star Trek Voyager which follows the lives of the crew of the USS Voyager who have been displaced on the other side of the galaxy in relation to their home in the Alpha Quadrant, the crew of the USS Discovery must learn what it means to follow the vision and goals of the UFP while essentially being on their own, displaced in time, while experiencing life threatening challenges.
Without getting into to much plot and scene work here, suffice it to say, their moving commitment to the ideals of the Federation and as such, Gene Roddenberry, and by extrapolation, the ideals of the United States is heart moving. When faced with becoming something else, something less than, and betraying those ideals mentioned above in order to expedite their plight or save their very lives, they choose instead to make a stand, asserting: "That is not who we are; that is not what we're about. We're Starfleet." And I wept.
I wept in large part because I think we as Americans are in the middle of a existential election and have been losing our way. In the past 3-4 years we've embraced a political reality that is diametrically opposed to those ideals mentioned above and the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Other is now dangerous, less than, and somehow wicked because other is not like us. We seem to be embracing a world where it's okay to make fun of people for whatever reason; to name call in order to denigrate and diminish other; to boldly lie about anything and everything even in the face of verifiable reality and truth to the contrary; to warp cultural understanding of reality into something it's not because we fear to lose our own personal identity and reality; to disregard science and verifiable fact in service of personal preference or convenience; to abuse other families and children through killing, separation, and caging because they are not like us, their skin is a different color or their gender and or sexuality is different than ours and we fear them. These are just some of the ways we seem to have gone off track. And I wept.
I hope we can find our way back to our mission, back to our goals, back to our ideals instead of embracing this fear filled and self-focused isolationism that we seem to have embraced over the last 3-4 years. I hope we can once again embrace the Great Experiment and the noble and bold goals it embodies. I hope that we can again be the United States of America, albeit not a perfect union, but one committed to the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
And now perchance to hope...