5 Political Lessons we can learn from The Drumhead

Unapologetic political post with opinions!

I’m writing this post under my own name as with everything in politics. It’s a personal thing. It’s also collective. And it feels good to share.

I’ve been open about my political leanings. I’ve worked in that battle field. I’ve stood for election many times and served public office for some years. My underlying principles have been always been Liberal and Star Trek was the influence and educator for me.

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But I was born in Hawaii!

When I went to bed the night of the US Election, I noted that I felt the same as I did the night of the EU referendum. Smug reassurance that everything was going to be fine and go the way I thought it would… and should.

Watching the results come in that night  I felt like the crew of DS9 checking on the weekly casualty reports during the Dominion war.

Whilst Star Trek appeals to Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the overwhelming majority of us all share it’s core philosophy.  That’s why campaigns like ‘Trek Against Trump’ gained such widespread support. And why I have only encountered a handful of a Trump and Brexit supporters – hey we’re all internet friends!

But the next morning as I sat drinking my 4th Diet Coke at 6.30am, with a screaming 2 year old, a vomiting dog, news that a relative had passed away and Trumps face grinning through the TV. I nearly surrendered to the fact that humanity is in the midst of a self destruct phase. Then I heard Captain Picard’s voice calmly speaking. img_1226

That’s when I remembered that doing nothing isn’t an option. So I rewatched The Drumhead and in my angry, defeated mindset, Picard reminded me to keep fighting the cause.

You’ll recall a Klingon exchange officer is accused of smuggling information to the Romulans but denies causing an explosion in engineering. This leads to an investigation into the crew which reveals a young officer lied about his Romulan heritage when applying to Starfleet. The Drumhead is one of Star Trek’s finest hour. But Picard’s words to Worf chime true at anytime and during any political climate.

This was the moment for me I realised that Star Trek isn’t just a ‘utopian vision’. It’s a working political model. It is continually tested and challenged. This is where Star Trek can give us hope during these times.

So whether you’re feeling sorry for yourself and the frightening shift away from liberalism, freedom and common sense, Or if you’re conservative and believe in devolving power to the lowest possible level, Here’s five lessons we can take away from the TNG episode The Drumhead. Let me know what you think. Are there any you’d add?

  1. Constantly reevaluate your own beliefs and hold them to account.

I have put this first as I believe it is the most important and key to our development and growth as a person.  Picard does this early on in the episode when talking to Admiral Satie. She wants to begin the investigation by limiting Tarses movements based on her Betazoid assistant’s intuition (that Tarses is hiding something). She makes excellent points. She speaks calmly, she’s intelligent and her argument has plenty of merit. You can see Picard considering carefully. When she asks if Picard would act on similar advice from Counsellor Troi, he acknowledges the hypocrisy of his stance and resolves to correct it instead of making excuses for himself. I’ve rarely ever seen a politician .. or person admit this during a confrontation.

2. Let your logic and emotions work together in harmony.

There’s a reason why that guy in your office, who claims ‘he identifies mosts with Vulcans’ because he ‘doesn’t let emotions get in his way’ – is a complete Jerk. This is because unlike Vulcans, he has not completed the Kolinahr and he doesn’t follow the teachings of Surak. When human beings try to suppress their emotions, things go bad. This is where Picard excels and Admiral Satie fails. Picard can sometimes seem cold when in fact he is always congruent with his emotions. Perhaps this is why they don’t always come bursting out (unlike that guy in your office!). He is quick to notice his gut feeling and tells Worf “This doesn’t feel right”.

Admiral Satie on the otherhand seems very ‘in control’ of her emotions, which in our culture is applauded. She is quick to loose control though when her buttons are pushed. There are similarities to Trump here. They both are capable of provoking intense feelings in others – particularly fear. However when Picard used Satie’s fathers words against her and when Alec Baldwin, Cher and every media outlet used Trumps words against him, their fragile inner emotional state can’t cope.

3. Everyone believes they are the goodies and doing what’s best.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that no matter how awful or misguided someone’s beliefs are, Everyone thinks they are doing what’s ‘best’ or ‘necessary’ despite the actual outcome. The same is true with Picard and Satie. In fact they have much more in common than not. They both want the truth, they both want to protect the values of the Federation.

I often had to remind myself of that when I was working with (what I now consider) moderate opposition parties. The difference is in the policy and how you will achieve the goal. Satie believes that the overarching importance is “protection of the Federation” – and any measure however unsavoury is worthwhile for the great of good. However Picard sees the rights of the individual as sovereign. That by protecting the one, you are upholding the values of the Federation which you seek to protect. We see Picard implement a person centred policy many times, e.g. Measure of a Man, The Offspring, Insurrection.

On a side note, I once considered taking an action that was morally questionable but for a good cause. I watched the DS9 episode “In the pale moonlight” where Sisko brings the Romulans into the war. After watching that episode I was convinced it was the necessary thing to do. But after weeks of considering it I thought to myself “Would Picard have done that?”. I thought of the Drumhead and realised that Picard would have found another way. For me and my conundrum, it wasn’t the ‘right’ thing to do.

4. Step up to your duty.

Whether you’re a voter, party member or president-elect. We all have a role and responsibility.

When Picard sees that Tarses will need legal representation he calls on Commander Riker who steps up to protect Tarses without hesitation. When it is suddenly revealed that he is part Romulan, the audience gasps and we’re all thinking he is guilty as hell. Riker may have reacted with a presumption of innocence and jumped to Simons rescue. Or he felt the same as the audience but knew his duty was to protect Simon. Either way. Classy.

Not only is this a reminder on how to treat others but with lots of big news stories hitting out headlines almost daily it’s vital to continually scrutinise, challenge and determine what is actually important.

5. Lecturing other people about their beliefs rarely changes their mind.

Picard eloquently explains his position to Satie, as does she. As she won’t change her mind, Picard needs to remove her power. He does this by enlightening others. He provides evidence so Admiral Henry from Starfleet Security, the rest of the crew and even Satie’s staff can see her for what she really is.

Hateful words spread fear but silencing them can give their cause credibility, as they claim to be repressed. Picard puts the spotlight on Satie and allows her to reveal the full extent of her fanaticism.  This allows followers like Worf to re-evaluate their own stance. Picard took a person centred approach again as he is aware that change comes from within and given the full facts, a person can make an informed decision. The draw back is that the person receiving that decision changing information generally has to be well balanced, constantly re-evaluate their own beliefs, has harmonised their emotions with their logic and will step up to do their duty. Which is why it worked so much better in 2367 than in 2016.

Shaka … When the walls fell.

 

Review – Lovarzi Official licensed products

If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for a Trekkie than take a look at these winter wonders from Lovarzi. As we state in our vblog review, we are cautious when people ask us to review their products – mostly because we don’t want to be in the awkward position of having to saying anything negative should we believe the product be worthy of disposable by a garbage scow!

Fortunately we were relieved to discover that the Umbrella’s and Scarf’s on offer from Lovarzi were good quality so we were happy to give them an honest review.

Available to buy direct from Lovarzi whilst stock lasts … Perfect for this British weather!

#DSTE Day 3

 

Late night early morning. That’s how we roll at DST. We are still a bit green in places from yesterday’s Orion look but we head straight to the Excelsior stage where we are hosting our second Cosplay panel with the wonderful Misty Chance (drag queen and Star Trek cosplayer) and Liam Dillon, Star Trek fan and Facebook costume group.

Cosplay Panel

In this panel we highlight the connection between cosplay (grown up talk for fancy dress) and Star Trek. What we discovered is that there is a close link between the two. Cosplay originated at Star Trek conventions (contrary to popular belief that it stemmed from manga/anime and Japanese culture).

We asked each panellist and the audience why they choose to dress up as Star Trek characters and we found and wide array of answers. For Liam, it is a challenge to recreate the styles, to source the material and obtain the details. Misty was blatantly honest and said it was for the attention! Misty has had access to the actors and fans in a unique way because she is more approachable in character than in his normal clothes dressed as Christian.

Sarah and Carole had similar reasons. They joked it’s because Sam makes them! But as we explored it further, they enjoy participating. Like many of us we see others dressed up, we wish we were brave enough because it looks like fun. And eventually we take the plunge.

For myself (Sam) and also our new honorary Trekkie Girl, the adorable Beth the reason was that we enjoy the play element of it. For a moment in our lives we can allow ourselves to get swept up in our imaginations and we are captain of the Enterprise (instead of hoovering or searching for quotes on car insurance!).


We’d like to thank Liam, Misty, Beth and everyone else who was involved at this fun panel.

Also check out Misty’s blog for more details on the construction of the Martia costume.

Continue reading #DSTE Day 3

#DSTE Day 2 pt2 –  Party!

**We are live blogging, please excuse any lapses in spelling, grammar and accuracy**

Last night was the second of the Destination Star Trek Europe parties. This one was themed ‘Quarks bar and casino as was the venue for the official celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary.

The party was held at the Hilton Metropole which was a superb venue and conveniently close to the NEC. You have the added advantage of being able to access the main bar.

The Star Trek Rat Pack performed who were brilliant and hilarious. They had edited their routine for the British audience. For example at Star Trek Las Vegas they sang “you can’t get a good drink at Rio” to “you can only get a good drink in England”

Apparently Chase played before but we were in the queue at the bar (longer than Shatners autograph line!) but we hear she was incredible.

After the performance Walter Koenig cut the specially commissioned birthday cake which featured Kirk, a Gorn, enterprise, Klingon battle cruiser.

 

#DSTE Day 2

**We are live blogging, please excuse any lapses in spelling, grammar and accuracy**

 

Day two is off to an amazing start. The event has sold out! We started by greening ourselves up because today we are Orion Slave Girls! … Technically we are Orion officers!

The additional makeup and dressing requirements meant we missed some early panels (that’s the reason, honest!). But nothing was going to keep us away from Wil Wheatons panel!

Wil Wheaton’s Talk

Here’s what happened…

  • This was the first time in 20 years that he had appeared at a UK convention!
  • He spoke with such passion and enthusiasm it was infectious.
  • Defined by the entertainment industry as “he used to be an actor”
  • He loves to write and found he preferred directing
  • In 2000 – started website / blogging and reinvented himself that way
  • He has proved you CAN have a second act in Hollywood
  • Stranger Things will NOT take his call and yet there is a character in S2 that basically IS him
  • He is a great “maker” and says now is the best time for creative people.
  • He is THE most gracious / humble person!!
  • “The Doomsday Machine” is one of his earliest memories of a Sci Fi show being both entertaining and socially accountable
  • “Tapestry” is his absolute favourite episode. Great episode and even better to have a Star Trek actor tell us without being asked!
  • He came up with the particular order of buttons to press to get the ship in to warp speed or into orbit, etc. It made it more real to him!
  • He spoke about voicing the off-screen Romulans in the new Trek – where he said “Captain, if we ignite the red matter”. JJ Abrams pitched the film to him and he was blown away!
  • He likes to play “Where’s Greg” – drinking game in JJ Abrams movies

A request came from audience member to Sing ‘Soft Kitty’ and Wil delivered! 😍

“Stand By Me” is the career high that he will never hit again, but he has learnt to accept that. A lesson learned from episode Tapestry. We however beg to differ. As Vic Fontaine says “the best is yet to come”!

The writers didn’t take advantage of where Wil was at whilst playing Wesley – they got stuck in the character as “an idea” and not as him as a 3D/4D being

The was a huge distance between him and the older actors, he wanted to emulate them

There was a time when the ST community was awful to him, because they didn’t like Wesley, so they didn’t like him. But now he is older he is able to meet fans who are a similar age to him who were inspired and could relate to his character.

We managed to get in a question ourselves. We asked how he deals with internet trolls. To which he replied “block, and shine a light on how stupid they are”!

George Takei

When George takes the stage he has a remarkable presence. He loves the audience and we love him. He describes the conversation he had with Gene Roddenberry when he set out his vision for Star Trek. The bridge crew was to be made up of representatives of all of earth continents. The actors paralleled this demonstrating Infinite diversity in Infinite combinations.

Talking about the origins of “”ohh myyyy” it was a reaction from an interview with Howard Stern when Stern said “someone with a voice that deep must have a big dong!”

George described his scene Excelsior command scene in Star Trek 6. It felt like he was recreating it in front of our eyes! George loved telling us as much as we enjoyed listening which is what makes him an A* guest.

Speaking about his hit Broadway show Allegiance, George reminds us how important it is to constantly fight for our liberty, a message that Star Trek also delivers. He is in talks to bring the show to Londons west end. We’ll be first in line George!

When asked if Star Trek could have gone further with its messages of equality (alluding to issues of sexuality) George responded that he spoke to Gene about raising the issue – the interracial kiss was the lowest rating and caused so much controversy, the network wouldn’t let him address any more controversial topics or they would have kicked him off the air!

So far it’s been an amazing day. The cosplay has been a whole new level!

Next up we are going into the Guinness world record attempt to be the largest gathering of Star Trek characters in one place. Let’s smash it! Then we’ve got our own cosplay panel at 4.55!

Highlight:

Ohh yeah!!

Weird bit: painting each other green -got a bit awkward!

24th Century Socialites. Often found in Quarks, Ten Forward and the VIP bars of Risa

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