Sci Fi Friday: Looking Back At Al Gore’s Appeal To The Federation Council

Liberal Values remain at least partially in reruns for the holiday weekend with Sci Fi Friday set to post today before I left on vacation. Under the fold I present old posts which question whether neocons are more like the Sith or Vogons, how the final Star Wars movie warned of dangers to democracy, and a couple of old Star Trek posts including Star Ship Captains for Truth Attack Jon Luc Picard. Before getting to that I’ll start with something which isn’t technically an old blog post of mine. It was written before I had heard of political blogs, shortly after the 2000 election. Parts of this require quite detailed knowledge of Star Trek, but hopefully others will find the bulk of it amusing.

Gore Star Fleet

Al Gore Appeals Election to Federation Council

In what could be the final blow to Vice President Al Gore’s Presidential campaign, the Federation Council has refused his appeal to overturn the adverse ruling against him by the United States Supreme Court issued on December 12, 2000. An unsigned majority ruling agreed that this would be a violation of the Temporal Prime Directive.

In a concurring statement, Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan refused Al Gore’s request to perform Vulcan mind melds to definitively determine the will of the voters. While conceding that a majority of Florida voters may have intended to vote for Mr. Gore on election day, Ambassador Sarek declared that “Logic would dictate that voters who preferred Al Gore should have punched the chad by Al Gore’s name, not Pat Buchanan’s name.”

The majority statement did not refute Mr. Gore’s assertion that Texas Governor George Bush’s future Supreme Court appointees would result in further racial and cultural divide, culminating in the Bell Riots of 2024, but did find that the these events were part of the time line which ultimately resulted in the formation of the United Federation of Planets. For reasons which were not explained, Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine recused himself when discussion of Gabriel Bell was raised.

In a dissenting view, several members saw no justification in refusing Mr. Gore’s request to travel to the Guardian of Forever to determine if there was any validity to his accusations that a Bush Presidency would cause an alternative time line with the alternative Empire encountered by Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise.

A review of the time line also suggested that Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush were actually from an alternative time line than the one in which Star Fleet is a reality. While history of that era was sketchy, records seems to indicate that the President circa 2000 was actually named Jeb Bartlett.

Reaction to the Federation Council’s decision was mixed. The Ambassador from the Bizarro Planet was puzzled as to what the controversy was all about, stating that, “On my Planet, the candidate who comes in second is always declared the winner.”

Mr. Gore had no immediate response to this latest setback. After rumors that some aides were suggesting a further appeal of this decision to a higher authority, the Q Continuum offered to hear the case. “This is my kind of election,” declared Q.

Of course there was a follow up story to the above:Vice President Al Gore has expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling of the Federation Council not to override the adverse ruling of the United States Supreme Court which resulted in the election of George Bush as President of the United States. “I strongly disagree with this decision, but I must accept it. Decisions of the Federation Council are canon.” declared Gore.Some observers believe that Mr. Gore lost support on the Federation Council following his claims to have invented subspace communication and the Warp Drive. Zefram Cochrane was particularly upset by Mr. Gore’s claims.Vice President’s Gore’s concession speech was well accepted by contemporary Americans. Fifty-six percent of the voters were found to have a better opinion of Mr. Gore after hearing this speech, but forty-four percent were outraged that he preempted the week’s episode of West Wing. President Jeb Bartlett was unavailable for comment. Now on to some science fiction posts from Light Up The Darkness:

Neocons: Sith or Vogons?

22 May 2005

There has been plenty of talk this week comparing the Bush administration to the Sith of due to the manner in which Bush has used an unnecessary war to strike at the very foundations of democracy in this country. Lines such as that “Only a Sith deals in absolutes” or “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy!” further remind us of our current government.

Today’s interview with Richard Perle and Wesley Clark on CNN provided evidence that perhaps we should look at an additional alien race as models for the neoconservatives–the Vogons of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Vogons composed the bulk of the galactic bureaucracy and are described as “one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy. Not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn’t even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters. The best way to get a drink out of a Vogon is stick your finger down his throat, and the best way to irritate him is to feed his grandmother to the ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

While Clark argued that going into Iraq was a “strategic blunder” and showed how the intelligence was misused, Perle provided yet in another in the long list of reasons for going to war, failing to provide the proper paperwork after destroying the weapons of mass destruction. “The fact is if Saddam Hussein had documented the destruction of his weapons of mass destruction, the war would not have taken place.”

So there we have it. Saddam’s crime, for which we rushed to war, was that the proper paperwork had not been completed to document the destruction of the weapons of mass destruction. Anywhere other than on the Bizzaro World we know as Bushworld, actual evidence of being threatened by WMD would have been the standard for deciding whether to go to war.

Star Wars Warns of Dangers to Democracy
17 May 2005

Star Wars a cautionary tale about politics

Star Wars is a wakeup call to Americans about the erosion of democratic freedoms under George W. Bush, George Lucas said yesterday.

Lucas, at a Cannes film festival press conference yesterday, said he first wrote the framework of Star Wars in 1971 when reacting to then-U.S. president Richard Nixon and the events of the Vietnam War. But the story still has relevance today, he said, and is part of a pattern he has noticed in history.

“I didn’t think it was going to get quite this close,” he said of the parallels between the Nixon era and the Bush presidency, which has been sacrificing freedoms in the interests of national security.

“It is just one of those re-occuring things. I hope this doesn’t come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is . . . The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we are doing now in Iraq are unbelievable.”

In the latest film, the Palpatine character takes over as ruler of the universe with the co-operation of the other politicians.

“Because this is the back story (of the Star Wars saga), one of the main features of the back story was to tell how the Republic became the Empire,” Lucas said.

“At the time I did that, it was during the Vietnam War and the Nixon era. The issue was: How does a democracy turn itself over to a dictator? Not how does a dictator take over, but how does a democracy and Senate give it away?”

Lucas cited the Roman empire in the wake of Caesar’s death, France after the revolution and Hitler’s rise in Germany as historical examples of countries giving themselves over to dictators.

“They all seem to happen in the same way with the same issues: Threats from the outside; they need more control; and a democratic body not being able to function properly because everybody’s squabbling.”

MORE

All Good Things. . .
5 February 2005
While concentrating on the State of the Union coverage, I almost missed what, in the long run, is far more important than what a third rate mind such as George Bush has to say. The announcement was made that Enterprise, the current version of Star Trek, was canceled by UPN as of the end of this season.
All Good Things was the name of the final episode of Star Trek The Next Generation, and the fact that all good things must come to an end now applies to the entire set of Star Trek shows. The Next Generation was the closest to the original Star Trek, updating the idea with the special effects and television standards of a new era. Before TNG even ended, Deep Space 9 was started, proving to be a worthy successor it its own right.From there, things began to go downhill. Voyager could never attract the same degree of interest.
For many Star Trek fans, the appeal was of watching the future of the Federation, and humanity itself, extend into the future based upon Roddenberry’s vision. Being lost in space, Voyager did not satisfy this desire to see the entire future unfold. The next spin off, the currently airing Enterprise, was meant to be a prequel, taking place before the days of the Enterprise of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. It failed on the level of being, like Voyager, unable to continue the stories begun in Next Generation and DS9 forward, and initially also failed as a meaningful prequel. Finally, a new writing team was assembled, and this season they started to figure out where to go with the series. Even though Enterprise is much better this year, it did not bring in enough viewers to justify its high production costs.Star Trek was also revived as a movie series, but this was not the right medium. Star Trek worked best in both carrying forward the story gradually over a period of time, and in showing the continuing story of groups of characters which fans cared about. An isolated movie could not capture the magic of an ongoing series.
Roddenberry had a liberal vision behind Star Trek. Started during the Vietnam War, the “foreign policy” was based upon the Prime Directive, which prohibited interference in the development of other cultures. This lesson is particularly applicable today, when we have a President who believes he can form Democracy in a foreign country by forcing it from outside. Star Trek often dealt with racial tolerance. The society was secular, but other religions were also presented in an atmosphere of toleration which current day Republicans could learn a lot from. The underlying philosophy was strongly pro-science, a welcome contrast from today’s atmosphere where biology, cosmology, medicine, and even geology are under attack for teachings which vary from right wing religious dogma.Star Trek still has a well known name, and a well established fan base. Therefore it is likely it will be back in some form. After 624 hours over eighteen years, perhaps Star Trek needs a rest, to allow for new ideas, and development of a new creative team. Some are predicting a hiatus of about three years before Star Trek returns to television. Another movie, with a new cast, also remains a possibility. The previous series remain available in both reruns and DVD, and there are numerous book adaptations for those who cannot live without new stories. Science fiction fans are also likely to be interested in the newly revived Battlestar Gallactica. Ron Moore, who previously wrote for The Next Generation and Deep Space 9, has turned this remake into a series far superior to the flawed original.

Star Trek has a number of characters well known to the general public, lending it to references in many areas, including political satire. This includes my report during the 2004 election, Star Trek Captains for Truth Attack Jon Luc Picard, and reports from 2000 on Al Gore’s appeal of the election to the Federation Council.

STARSHIP CAPTAINS FOR TRUTH ATTACK JON LUC PICARD

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Former Enterprise Captain Jon Luc Picard has come under harsh attacks in his campaign for President of the Federation Council from a group calling itself Starship Captains for Truth. This group charges that Picard’s claims for defeating the Borg following the battle at Wolf 359 have been exaggerated. They note that Picard had been assimilated by the Borg prior to the battle and could not have led the defenses, and also blame Picard for not acting soon enough to prevent the heavy casualties suffered at Wolf 359. Starship Captains for Truth also questioned the veracity of Picard’s accounts of entering the Romulan neutral zone.

Picard’s actions on the Enterprise have been defended by crewmen aboard the Enterprise, as well as by Star Fleet documentation and articles on numerous Star Trek fan sites. Investigations into Starship Captains for Truth reveal that several of them are actually Changlings from the Dominion impersonating starship captains. The group has also been found to be financed by a shadowy group receiving funding from the Romulan Star Empire.

In commenting on charges raised by former Captain James T. Kirk, Picard responded by saying, “Kirk died years ago. Is Shatner’s ego so huge that Kirk continues to speak even after his death?

George Bush and The Wrath of Khan21 March 2005

The Baltimore Sun shows where one Bush advisor received her views on stem cell research: “Diana Schaub, a Loyola College professor and adviser to President Bush, is convinced that cloning and embryonic stem cell research are evil. She says this belief was formed, in part, by watching Star Trek.”

Most likely this view is based upon the stories on Khan, who appeared in a 1967 episode and in the 1982 movie The Wrath of Khan in which genetically enhanced humans wage war with humanity.

Star Trek does have some valuable lessons, which we previously discussed. Certainly we must always be watchful for potential misuse of science. However, there is a limit to how much to decide policy based upon adverse events in a television show. For example, denying people the benefits of stem cell research based upon fear of war waged by genetically enhanced humans is rather absurd.

It would have been far better if advisors to Bush learned from the positive lessons of Star Trek, including tolerance, accepting science rather than religious rule and superstition, and noninterference in the affairs of other cultures.

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