Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 8, 2016
Happy 50th anniversary, Star Trek.
I’ve always lived in a world where Star Trek was a thing. So at least that doesn’t make me feel quite so old. 🙂 I grew up on reruns, dreaming of the Final Frontier. Sometimes it was dumb and hokey. Sometimes it was thought-provoking. But it always fueled the imagination of a young boy.
And it did something else, too. As a kid, I never thought twice about there being a Russian on the bridge, when in the real world we were at the height of the Cold War. Or that there was an Asian helmsman in an era with lingering wounds after two wars in Asia and one current (at the time of the series) ongoing conflict. A black female officer on the bridge seemed like the way it should be. Now if only we could find more Vulcans!
That was the fundamental lesson to me… that people are people. Even when alien. Race, color, pointy ears… even culture, so long as they shared the same goals… you could have competent people working together to do awesome things and prevail in desperate circumstances. Their differences were an asset, not a liability.
I think a later lesson I took away from it was the failed Utopia of the universe. For all the lip service given to the Federation and the Prime Directive… maybe it was because the needs of the writers for interesting conflict… it was clear it wasn’t paradise. It seemed power-hungry Commodores were always taking command to further their own plans, or there was unrest on the frontiers of civilized space, and that the problems the Federation supposedly solved were still around, just papered over.
But all that was okay. They weren’t a perfect society (and as I got older, the flaws became more jarring and in some ways, silly). But that was okay. Maybe that was my own private take-away shared by no one else, but my thinking was always: “There’s no such thing as perfect, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to be better.” Crap happens, the system has flaws, sometimes people get falsely accused or even killed … but you keep trying to move forward, improving yourself and hopefully making the universe a little bit better place than how you found it.
So thanks for the dreams, Star Trek! Again, happy 50th!
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