By Jeremy Griffith
The American Millennium
Star Trek Discovery for what it is worth has had an OK start in its two first episodes of the first season. Time will tell if the series is worth paying $6 for monthly streaming access.
Set in an era 50 years before the era of James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, Bones McCoy, Chief Scott and all the rest, it is a turbulent era where the rules of the United Federation of Planets is not quite set in stone. Being the latest of the Star Trek endeavors, the technology, and feel of the series looks to the future rather than the past. That is because there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Times have changed, and technology has changed with it. Do you really want to go back to those trite early scripts and laughable sets of the 1960s?
The new series introduces us to a number of great characters, gets us to like and identify with them a little, then starts messing with our heads. For me it was like reading We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the first time, when the author introduces us to likable characters and then kills them off. Too obscure a reference, Game of Thrones then. A likable captain Philippa Georgiou is killed off in episode two, oh, spoiler alert, and her first officer Michael Burnham is sentenced to life in prison.
Oh, but magically she gets whisked off to the USS Discovery where she is employed by the controversial Captain Gabriel Lorca, where presumably the series kicks off into high gear. I love Jason Isaacs as an actor and he is evidentially going to play Lorca. I’m totally stoked for this fact. I have great hope for this series, I’ve been a big fan of Star Trek all my life and I want to go on watching the series and am emotionally invested in it.
Having said that, the cast has not shied away from controversy on the political spectrum and it’s necessary to talk about in this blog. Amidst the controversy of American sports professionals taking a knee at games while the National Anthem is played, the Discovery crew decided to take a photo of them taking a knee as well. It makes sense from a certain perspective. Star Trek has always been about diversity, and actors who sign up for series like this are well aware of the complexities of race relations in this country, which are very very bad. All of us who grew up watching the series know the political history of the show. Actress Nichelle Nichols, an African American, had a prominent role in the first series and was thinking of leaving, but stayed on because noted Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. asked her to stay on as a role model for others. Since then, the cast and crew have always shown us that diversity is an important factor in a great and adventurous future.
That being said, I’m ok for now that the cast took a knee. To me, they are protesting the horrible treatment of African Americans in this country, which continues to be bad. But in my mind, it is different than when sports heroes do it in the midst of the National Anthem. The National Anthem and our flag represent all that is good about America and what we aspire to be, not unlike the dream of the Federation, it represents the hope that a diverse people can be great in achieving common goals. By kneeling during the Anthem, to me it is like we are burning our national symbol and with it our hopes for shared achievement and diversity. I can’t see the flag disrespected any more than I could the principles of a United Federation.
I’ll give the crew of Discovery the benefit of the doubt for now. But the real issue seems to be not just solidarity with oppressed peoples, but with a firm hatred for Donald Trump and what he represents. This I’m sort of baffled by as well, but you can see it in the national media and in the way many people in Hollywood treat our president. Ten years ago you wouldn’t know that Trump was a racist. He helped minorities out and he got recognition from current civil rights leaders for what he achieved for African-Americans. Immediately after putting an R behind his name and running for president, trouncing a horribly lackluster candidate, Hillary Clinton, suddenly The Donald is Adolf Hitler. That is a hugely unfair characterization in my estimation. So far there is no genocide of brown people, there is no destruction of the US economy, the economy is doing better if anyone bothers to look at the numbers, and the status quo seems to be maintained such as it is.
Some might feel that Trump is unnecessarily jingoistic in his responses to Iran and North Korea, but it is previous administrations that have put us in this situation, not The Donald. It was Barack Obama who gave billions of our tax dollars in cash to a rogue state that wants nothing less than the annihilation of the Israeli state, followed by the destruction of the big Satan, America. It was previous democrat administrations that gave a green light to North Korea to develop nuclear strength, and it is the reason the mighty midget is now threatening his neighbors and us with nuclear destruction. The Donald is not trying to start a war, he is trying to deal with Kim Jung Un and the mullahs of Iran in the only language that they understand, force!
I have an analogy that the crew of Discovery and Star Trek fans will be sure to appreciate. In the first two episodes of Discovery, Michael Burnham and her captain are faced with an incredibly violent and war-like adversary, the Klingons. The Klingons only understand one thing, war. It is their code and creed. Captain Georgiou, like all Star Fleet captains, wants to be an explorer, not a warrior. They see the risk, but instead of preparing a defense, they try a stance of appeasement. Of course, as predicted, that goes horribly wrong, it sends the wrong message to the enemy and it launches Star Fleet in a horribly destructive war that will cost many lives. If they had listened to Burnham, and given the Klingons the “Vulcan Hello”, things would have worked out quite a bit differently.
Now it is up to Lorca, a captain who doesn’t quite follow the rules, to deal with the Klingons, ultimately defeat them or fight them to a draw, so that the Federation can eventually get back their original goal and mission, peaceful exploration of space and interaction to the wonderful and strange new worlds and people therein.
Now here is where the analogy meets reality, and I doubt that liberals in Hollywood will like it, but they ought to hear it from a fan. Donald Trump is Captain Gabriel Lorca and Michael Burnham is his Secretary of Defense, Gen. Mathis. Ouch. Really? Yes really. The appeasers playing Captain Georgiou, bless her heart, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, take your pick of the weak spine democrat in office. They created a horrible mess with an enemy that cannot be reasoned with and now the Donald, aka Lorca has to roll up his sleeves and get down to business before the Klingons, aka North Korea and Iran nuke us all to death.
It’s kind of like when Jean-Luc Picard went up against the Borg. We thought everyone was going to die, but one guy with the guts to stick his neck out was able to win the day, at very great cost. Picard is Trump. Someone should remind Whoopie Goldberg of The View of her Star Trek roots. Her character Guinan was a popular character on The Next Generation series and was an able advisor to Picard. I would love to hear her take on this blog. She hates Trump.
Sucks but there it is. You are welcome, Hollywood.
As I have said, I love the Star Trek series, and I have high hopes that this series will carry on the noble tradition. I’m sure they have some great stories to tell. We will see if they deliver on their promises.
For Further reading, check out what Jason Isaac has to say about his new role, his castmates and “taking a knee” here.