The CNN GOP Debate (or â€œmass press conferenceâ€ as Boortz more accurately termed it) is over.Â There was a lot to criticize about the format, including John King’s “utting” and the outright silliness of the â€œthis or thatâ€ questions.Â I was online while watching the debate, and reading aloud for my husband some of the more humorous suggestions for additional â€œthis or thatâ€ questions that were coming in on the Twitter feed:Â Team Edward or Team Jacob?Â Rocky Road or Pistachio?Â Mary Ann or Ginger?Â Boxers or briefs?Â My own â€“ which I never got around to tweeting â€“was â€œKirk or Picard?â€
After reflecting for a couple of days, Iâ€™ve decided that maybe that question is more serious than when I threw it out on Tuesday night.Â I’d actually like to know how the candidates would have answered it.
Iâ€™m a child of the 60s and yes, a dedicated Trekkie.Â After dinner, my mom used to let me use the dining room chairs to construct the bridge of the Enterprise in the living room, where I would sit there to watch the show.Â I never missed it.Â I still love the original the best.Â â€œNext Generationâ€ and the rest of the spin-offs never grew on me (thereâ€™s just something basically wrong with Klingons on the bridge of the Enterprise), except for the prequel series â€œEnterpriseâ€, which I enjoyed a lot.Â And, of the movies, I liked the one with the whales the best, because, environmentalist doomsday plot aside, I thought it most faithfully captured the rollicking spirit of the original characters and the interplay between them.
The reasons I like the show so much are myriad, and an in-depth discussion of them is a subject for another time.Â Itâ€™s fairly clear that Roddenberry was more of the humanist left than of the right, and yes, there are some barely-disguised progressive and anti-Vietnam messages in the scripts.Â But I believe he was, according to the Bushmills Classification System, more of a classical liberal (NOL), or at most a L2, than a member of the more malignant L3 class we see today.Â Roddenberry was a decorated Army Air Force combat pilot and then a sergeant with the L.A. Police Department before he quit in order to concentrate on his writing career. I think his heart was in the right place. As another blogger has pointed out, it was not the U.S.S. Progressive, or even the U.S.S. Constitution.Â It was the U.S.S. Enterprise. We come in peace, but don’t screw with us.Â And the Prime Directive dictated that cultures flourish best when left the hell alone, without interference and/or â€œcareâ€ from some nanny-state in the sky.Â Perhaps we should consider that as a Constitutional amendment.Â Oh, wait….
But I digress.Â When it comes to Kirk or Picard, I say Kirk for sure.Â Why?Â Because Shatnerâ€™s character captured so much of what it seems weâ€™ve lost about the American spirit. In fact, for some of my generation, Kirk helped to define the American spirit.Â Kirk was tough.Â He was principled.Â He was loyal.Â He wasnâ€™t necessarily the most intellectual guy on the ship, but he didnâ€™t need to be.Â He was smart enough to surround himself with good crew members, listen to them, and accept their guidance in their areas of expertise.Â He was a team-builder.Â He could ride a horse, and he was proud of the fact that he was a farm boy from Iowa with gunslingers in his family tree.Â He was innovative.Â He was independent.Â He was wily.Â And he was by-God fearless.Â He took the fight to the enemy.Â He could vaporize bad
guys aliens by shooting from the hip.
A Ronulan ale summit between Kirk and Obama would last about two minutes.
By contrast, Picard was sophisticated.Â He was suave.Â He was educated.Â He was urbane.Â He was polished.Â And French. He was the smartest guy on the bridge; all the â€œNext Generationâ€ crew members were quite clearly subordinate to him intellectually. He’d fit right in over at the faculty lounge.Â Yes, heâ€™d fight, but only after being backed into a corner, and then only after agonizing and analyzing and mulling things over and quoting famous authors.Â He spent about half of his time â€“ or so it seemed â€“ playing fantasy games on the holodeck.Â What an elitist wimp.
Picard says, in a patrician tone, â€œMake it so.â€ Kirk says, â€œAhead, warp factor six.â€
Red alert:Â Weâ€™ve got a big fight coming at us in 2012.Â Figuratively speaking, the entire Romulan armada is lined up in battle formation and about to open fire.Â Some of them are cloaked; we canâ€™t even see them yet, though we know they’re there.Â We donâ€™t need a Picard-ish GOP candidate.Â We donâ€™t have time for emoting, or agonizing, or analyzing or quoting Shakespeare.Â Oh, and this fight is not a holodeck intellectual exercise of the sort one can engage in from the comfort of a D.C.Â office.Â Real Americans are actually suffering because of the dire state of the economy.Â There are real Muslim fundamentalists who want to actually kill as many of us as possible.Â We have real socialist-Marxist-statist-progressives who actually want to fundamentally alter the very foundations upon which our nation was built.Â Never mind the phasers.Â Weâ€™ve got to arm the photon torpedoes.
In the movie Star Trek Generations, Picard ends up in the â€œnexusâ€, and seeks out Kirk to ask for some help.Â Kirk initially declines. But then:
KIRK: I take it the odds are against us, and the situation is grim?
PICARD: You could say that.
KIRK: Of course, if Spock were here, he’d say I was being an irrational, illogical human for wanting to go on a mission like that.Â Sounds like fun.
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m talking about.Â We need a candidate who will take the fight to the enemyâ€¦who will call a liar a liar to his face and not back off from itâ€¦who can shoot from the hip and hit what heâ€™s aiming at.Â We need a candidate who doesnâ€™t mind getting his shirt torn.
Figuratively speaking, of course.