Posted by: Naomi Baltuck | November 15, 2016

Resistance is NOT Futile

 

All the stars and planets were aligned…Just after the election I had a birthday, which I share with my binary brother, Lewis.  In sixty years, we’ve never spent a birthday apart.  Like so many of us, he was shocked, saddened, crushed by the election results.  There was only one thing to do.  We played space age hooky, beamed him out of the office and transported ourselves to the Seattle Center.

Specifically, to the EMP, which is celebrating 50 years of Star Trek.

I hardly remember life before Star Trek. And talk about The Next Generation! My children absorbed Star Trek by osmosis in utero. As I ascended the stairs to the EMP tribute, the Star Trek theme song elicited a visceral response that only gets stronger as I get older.  I’ve lived long enough now to see many of these stories played out on my planet in real time.


The Star Trek universe was built upon a future where poverty was eliminated, equality and diversity went hand in hand, and the good of the many took precedence over the few.  Humans had learned to cooperate, and put an end to war.  All of Earth and the Federation of Planets collaborated on peaceful missions of exploration.  What a concept!  A bit rosy, but a vision worth striving for.

My brother and I arrived early and shared the floor with only a few others, including a very cute couple in Star Fleet uniforms.

We had shared a womb for nine months, and managed to both fit into a Borg Regeneration Chamber too.

Star Trek had action and adventure, but was also thoughtful and intelligent.  Writers could get away with astute critical social commentary, because it was all happening in another universe. Thinly veiled stories posed tough questions about civil rights, social disparity and racism in our own society.

Martin Luther King was marching for basic civil rights and a place at the lunch counter for African Americans when Classic Trek was filmed, featuring a black woman as fourth in command on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

It wasn’t long before a woman would captain the Federation Starship Voyager.

A black man was in command of the space station, Deep Space Nine.

Julian Bashir, whose Arabic name means “bringer of good news,” was the doctor on DS9.

In the original series Lt. Sulu was played by George Takei, who is gay.  Fifty years later, in the most recent Star Trek movie, writers gave Sulu a child and a husband, a powerful tribute to the actor who first brought Sulu to life. More importantly, it was an unwavering moral and political statement of inclusiveness that brought tears to my eyes.

For just a little while, it felt good to be in a place of Equal Opportunity bridges, and not walls.  Right now we are in the middle of our own episode, so scary it seems like science fiction, with the world we’ve worked so hard to build spinning out of control.  The incidence of hate crimes is rising dramatically.  Social security is threatened.  Fifty years of social progress is at risk as minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ, those with disabilities, and the poor are in danger of being disenfranchised.  The environment is on the brink of ruin beyond recovery because in this episode The Almighty Dollar is worshipped at all costs. In this story, we don’t have other worlds to relocate to after we’ve ruined this planet. Too many episodes begin with civilizations that have self-destructed, or are ruled by uncaring masters who live in the clouds in their own decadent paradise, while the workers they exploit to maintain their carefree lifestyle live in a harsh ugly world. You probably saw “Patterns of Force,” the episode pictured below; there are people old enough to have lived through that reality, and who recognize the signs in our country today.

patterns-of-force-star-trek-women-13190574-720-530

If we wait until the 24th century to be rescued, or for ‘enlightenment’ to kick in, we’re going to find ourselves back in the Dark Ages wondering what happened.  Anyone who has watched Star Trek knows how difficult it is to travel back in time to change the future.   Star Trek’s writers say,  “…start by picking a resolution…then plan each step so it drives the story toward the ending you want…”

Every episode needs conflict to give a story purpose and move the plot forward.  Star Trek writers created a terrifying foe called The Borg...”individuals who have been captured and assimilated…and transformed into mindless worker drones…What’s frightening about the Borg is not their violence…They are unhampered by empathy for other beings, believing their way is perfection…The Borg are, in essence, a virus that uses civilizations as its hosts.”

Can you see where our country is headed? We will NOT be assimilated. Our story must end with a world where people of every race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation live and work together, without fear of banishment, punishment or judgement simply for being who they are. This episode must end with respect, inclusivity, and compassion for all. We must do whatever it takes to make it so. The reason Star Trek has become such a lasting legacy is because it is hopeful and empowering and delivers a message we need to hear.  The captain’s chair is ready. Let’s take our tall ship, keep an eye on that star to steer her by, and go full speed ahead, warp factor 10. Whatever happens, please remember…Resistance is NOT futile.  It is the only way we ever have or ever will make any headway, and it will be a crucial message to the next generation.

©2016 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme.

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Responses

  1. Happy Birthday! And thank you for the wonderful analogy and here’s hoping the population becomes more active, more vigilant, and more about love than hate. That said, it’s very scary and hard to console my daughter who has only known life President Obama in her adult life. Resistance isn’t futile. Let’s hope the planet survives while we figure out the next step.

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes, Lisa! Thank goodness your daughter has Obama for a baseline; as difficult as that would be for his successors to live up to, at least she knows it can happen, and what it is we are all working toward. Fingers crossed for the planet earth, and thank goodness there is a smart and compassionate next generation to help us move toward the next step. I only wish our generation could have given them a big boost forward instead of this awful mess.

  2. Resistance is not futile. It is the only thing to do at a time like this. I do see where your country is going and it quite honestly haunts me day and night. For the very first time in my life I am so swayed by the hatred and injustice that I am considering marching on Capitol Hill. I abhor the president-elect and must kick myself not to wish him ill (death, torture etc)… and it is not at all amusing. It is truly a scary time for all, and God bless those who choose to ignore it. (your bro is cute too 😉 )

    • I, too, am fighting the urge to think bad things. Maybe I need to get together with a group of friends to fantasize about what we would want to do to him – give ourselves 30 min. to vent. Not who I am in my heart – but life is not as it should be. Strange times, indeed.

    • Dear Lesley,
      I was absolutely shocked, and am still in shock. Everyone I know is terrified and disgusted, but there is nowhere to move but forward, speaking out, giving voice, and marching when it comes to that. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. Good for you! Great post.

  4. You watched Star Trek, right?

    • Ha ha! Well, maybe once or twice. Actually, although I was assimilated fifty years ago, I spent most of those years as a Closet Trekker. Last week I was on a trip with my son, and he wanted to watch the first series in chronological order. When he realized I knew every episode by its title, I wasn’t sure whether to beam myself back into the closet or proudly go where most nerds have gone before. Definitely decided on the latter!

  5. You go, woman. I am inspired to see people speaking out and affirming our reality in ways that use their talents. Thanks for your gift of story telling.

    • Dear Pat,
      Thanks so much for the positive reinforcement. In these times, it is more important than ever to use any means to speak up and speak out! I know you do the same.

  6. Thank you Naomi for your post. You said so well what some of us feel and think that no comment is necessary except one. Those who didn’t vote in the last election made the current result a reality. I would like also to understand why there were many people who thought differently than you and I and voted. What is wrong, is it us, is it them, or is it something else?

    Your photographs are as usually the best.

    • Dear Dorota,
      I wish I knew. I am still shaking my head and asking myself how this could have happened. So glad to know we are not alone.
      Love,
      Naomi

  7. Peace; live an appropriate lifespan, sustainably. The trouble with Tribbles is that they reproduce beyond their resources. There are a lot of lessons we have yet to learn, and I’m afraid it will take far more than an hour minus commercials to realize that…and by the time we do, it may be too late. So, futility may write the closing episode, but we don’t know. It makes sense, therefore, to work at light speed to change course, engage, and get to warp factor 10 as soon as possible. Thanks for always making me smile, even in the midst of a serious story!

  8. Yes, yes, and yes. I remember being tired but your help has been heaven sent? What does this trip-up mean to you? 3 😛

    • Dear Tess,
      Thank you again and again for every smile you send my way! We need all that we can muster in these trying times.

  9. Best wishes for health and happiness in the coming year, and continued pleasure in the possibilities of the future!

    • Dear Shimon,
      What a delight to hear from you. I miss you and your wonderful posts. Thank you for your good wishes. I wish you and your family health and happiness. Even in these trying and uncertain times (you must have guessed that I am still reeling) we must move forward and try to make the best future possible for ourselves and especially for our children.
      Love,
      n

  10. happy birthday to both – and hard to believe that you have not had a bday apart – that is beautiful
    and the elevator shot is my fav – but the whole post is fun and a Trek Lovers post for sure….

    • Thank you! There were a couple years in between where I almost didn’t make it, but when you’ve come this far, it is a shame to break a perfect record!

      • 😉
        🍰🎂🍰🎂

  11. Happy Birthday and thanks for this post.

  12. Happy birthday and I wish you got a better present. ❤

    • No kidding! Aside from the electoral smack in the face, I have so many other things to be thankful for, and that’s what I try to focus on when I feel panic and fear for the future of my country creeping back in. And to quote another sci-fi perennial favorite (and the best Star Trek parody I have ever seen), “Never Surrender! Never give up!”

  13. I watched Star Trek for several years, and husband was addicted to it, so I saw many, many episodes more than once. I had not thought of it to the depth you have, so it was very interesting to read this post and see more – the analogies to our times are frightening, indeed, but this past week has been frightening, and the future – we can hope and pray and do what we can do. We can hope lessons will be learned and sanity will return. Sigh.

    • Dear Carol, I think there are a lot of us who are dealing with a sense of shock and loss, and are fighting a sense of panic and fear for the future of our country. It does help when someone speaks out and speaks up, to know we aren’t alone. Love, n

  14. Naomi,
    Sometimes I simply hope there is a parallel universe where the creatures have chosen love over fear, honoring our nest rather than fouling it, and gratitude over greed. I am sure there is someone who looks just you there.
    xoxoxo
    Judith

    • Dear Judith,
      Thanks so much for this wonderful thought. So good to keep our brains stocked with alternate possibilities. And to speak out and up whenever possible. You set such a good example of that–we need exact replicas of you–clones will suffice– in every reality and universe.
      Xoxoxoxo!!!
      n

  15. Sixty Naomi? Never! Nice parallel you’ve constructed here. I’ve just asked another US blogger – who actually voted for Trump? Everyone is amazed and shocked but many, many millions – including intelligent and sane people – did just that. Personally I don’t believe he’ll make matters worse despite his ugly rhetoric.

    Our generation has failed miserably in looking after the world. Let’s hope our brilliant kids will use new technology and their vision to start repairing the damage.

    • Dear Roy,
      I cannot ever condone or understand anyone who, for any reason, would put a sociopath into the highest office in the land. No good change can be brought about by a racist mysogynist narcissist on trial for rape of a child, a cheap con man who has bilked tens of thousands of people in scams, who refuses to pay contracted workers what he has promised just because he knows he can get away with it, a lying bully who has no true interest in anything or anyone but himself, no sense of shame. He has elevated a Ku Klux Klan supporter to the White House Chief of Staff! What justice or treatment can people expect if they are minorities, women, disabled, or even naturalized citizens? If he has no use for them, he will chew them up and spit them out, now that he has their vote. Trump can’t even refrain from bitchy twitter wars, and his are the grubby paws those “intelligent and sane” idiots put the nuclear codes into. Unconscionable. Inexcusable. Twisted. This country will see change, I can promise you that, but it’s not going to be for the better.

  16. Happy birthday to you and your brother! Star Trek is a great analogy for not turning back the clock. We have to look forward and learn from the mistakes of the past. I was shocked Trump got in and wonder why he wants to go back to a time of inequality. Best of luck xxxx

    • Thank you, Dianne. Yes, there are many of us who are bewildered, ashamed, and heartbroken. Star Trek is a positive picture to keep in mind as we fight for a better future for women, minorities, the disabled, immigrants, LGBTQ, the sick and elderly and poor, and everyone else who is clearly going to be chewed up and spit out by a Trump administration.

  17. You certainly found an interesting way to deal with your disappointment over the election results. I’m just keeping the faith that we will survive.

    • Having a positive vision of kindness and compassion for is helpful.

  18. Happy birthdays! Love the sibling connection here. So heart-warming.

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes, Jean. It was a gooder!

  19. Hot diggety-another great post.
    Aye-Aye captain!

  20. Thank you — I needed the reminder. I am systematically rewatching Star Trek, just started TNG, and finding reminders of principled behaviors. Make it so. ❤

    • Dear Mary,
      My son and I were in Taiwan last week. While there we began to work our way through the original series, episode by episode in chronological order. There are a few groaners in the series, but it was remarkably hopeful and positive. Yes, Mary. We must recapture that spirit of hope for a better future for ALL, and make it so.

      • I had to consciously give them a pass for the “women can’t be captains” and “when she meets the right man, we’ll lose another officer” comments by Kirk. Product of the times, when jobs were still listed in Men and Women categories.

      • Hi Mary,
        There is a lot of that kind of sexist commentary and behavior in the first series, and my son and I couldn’t refrain pointing them out to each other as we watched the original series. But for fifty years ago, it was pretty far ahead of its time, and also very mindful in The Next Gen, DS9, and Voyager about making positive forward-thinking changes in that regard.


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