It’s been a rough week. Though it’s my job to talk about Hollywood, politics are bleeding into it. I think that’s true for everyone these days. I’m sure you’ve read a zillion articles about what’s happening in our country and I hope you’re fighting, too. I hope you’re making calls to your elected officials, protesting and having your say. I am, too. I just want to take a minute to talk about what we could have if we just keep fighting.
I was watching an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” the other night. Which episode doesn’t really matter. I’ve seen them all a dozen times. Heck, I’ve written book chapters about the show. What struck me so hard watching this one was how desperately we need to look at this show as a goal. OK, not the costumes. I like fabric that breathes. What I mean is the way this society looks at inclusion.
In “Star Trek,” women, men, aliens, those of different religions and no religion at all — they’re all working together. Sure, there is war. There is misunderstanding. There is fear of the unknown. However, on that ship, everyone works together to further understanding of other cultures and worlds. The try to understand the differences in culture between Klingons and humans, Vulcans and Ferengi, and accept them. Though there are often clashes between cultures, the goal is to resolve them, not send the other culture away or ban them from the United Federation of Planets.
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It’s always been something I loved about “Star Trek,” but last night, it brought me to tears. “Star Trek” has always pushed the envelope in terms of inclusion. The original series had the first interracial kiss. It showed women in positions of authority. It didn’t just hint at equality; it dealt with it head on. It’s one of the gifts of science fiction; the ability to say things that might make us uncomfortable in our present setting. It’s why art is so important, especially right now.
I did an interview with “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod last year, and he said this of his father’s work and what it can teach us: “So many of us, including myself at times, need to pull our heads out of our collective asses, and realize what side of history we want to be on…. We need to be inviting things that are different in — opposing points of view. And if we can be rational and have discussions about these things, we’re all going to grow and evolve from it. Even if we don’t understand or believe the other person, just hearing that point of view will give us context, will give us room to evolve our own thinking.”
I want to believe that most of us aspire to live in a world where everyone has a chance to succeed. I want to believe that most of us are kind and accepting. I want to believe that most of us will stand up and fight to live in a world that accepts differences and learns from them. Go watch a little “Star Trek” tonight. See what we could be. Fight. Live long and prosper.