Countless internet personalities, celebrities, bloggers, and individuals with various social media accounts have made the effort to comment on, joke about, or simply share an opinion on the tumultuous season of politics that we’ve been witnessing as of late. One of my favorite comments recently surrounding some of the more unsavory pieces of our global-political climate came in the form of a tweet from Seth Macfarlane. After the infamous “Brexit” vote, Macfarlane tweeted, “Brexit just took us one step away from the United Federation of Planets.”
Often times, many of us look to Star Trek as a kind of gold standard for humanity’s future. Star Trek has made a point to give us a vision of our future that – while not without flaws – is consistent in optimism, hope, innovation, and a general sense of positivity. In the United Federation of Planets we find unity and understanding trumping conflict, and strength in hope. Often during challenging periods in our politics and culture, Star Trek has been at the forefront of pioneering narrative social commentaries depicting our current societal and global flaws in a way that shows us that we can overcome them together.
While the latest entry in the Star Trek franchise made an effort to push unity as a primary theme (feel free to read my commentary on Star Trek Beyond here), we don’t have the consistent commentary and vision of a positive future that we once had on a weekly basis. Sadly, with that, Seth MacFarlane’s sentiments can be echoed time and time again. The GOP nomination of Donald Trump took us another step further from the United Federation of Planets, our national discourse has taken us another step away from Star Trek‘s vision, domestic and foreign terrorism have pushed us even further away from a unified future. The list could go on.
Fortunately, despite the lack of a current sense of narrative optimism that Star Trek has brought us over the years, the message of hope and betterment has been given room to breathe and flourish through the realm of social media. Trek Against Trump, along with #TrekNotTrump have made strides to promote optimism as a tool to defeat the negative factors that look to hold our world back. Several Star Trek actors, producers, directors, crew members, writers, and individuals who have had some relationship with the franchise have come together to endorse a letter combating Donald Trump and the movements echoed by his brand of discourse and ideology:
Star Trek has always offered a positive vision of the future, a vision of hope and optimism, and most importantly, a vision of inclusion, where people of all races are accorded equal respect and dignity, where individual beliefs and lifestyles are respected so long as they pose no threat to others. We cannot turn our backs on what is happening in the upcoming election. Never has there been a presidential candidate who stands in such complete opposition to the ideals of the Star Trek universe as Donald Trump. His election would take this country backward, perhaps disastrously. We need to elect a president who will move this country forward into the kind of future we all dream of: where personal differences are understood and accepted, where science overrules superstition, where people work together instead of against each other.
The resolution of conflicts on Star Trek was never easy. Don’t remain aloof –vote! We have heard people say they will vote Green or Libertarian or not at all because the two major candidates are equally flawed. That is both illogical and inaccurate. Either Secretary Clinton or Mr. Trump will occupy the White House. One is an amateur with a contemptuous ignorance of national laws and international realities, while the other has devoted her life to public service, and has deep and valuable experience with the proven ability to work with Congress to pass desperately needed legislation. If, as some say, the government is broken, a protest vote will not fix it.
Have you just turned 18? Have you moved? Have you never voted before? Some states have early registration (early October) and/or absentee ballots. You can’t vote if you are not registered. So make it so. Go to https://www.rockthevote.com, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, and fulfill your civic duty. Because, damn it, you are a citizen of the USA, with an obligation to take part in our democracy! Do this not merely for yourself but for all the generations that follow. Vote for a future of enlightenment and inclusion, a future that will someday lead us to the stars.
The movement began with Trek alum, Armin Shimerman and writer/blogger Jay Stobie, however the two have emphasized that this is not about them. Shimmerman and Stobie have made a point to recognize that this is not simply about recognizable faces spouting their political opinions. It is a movement meant to convey a message that, not only these actors, but countless individuals involved in the franchise in one way or another have stood for by helping to make Star Trek into what it has become and what it represents. Shimerman and Stobie elaborate further on this in a recent interview with Jordan Hoffman on the Engage podcast.