Imagination Connoisseur, ROBB, shares his thoughts on how Star Trek: Discovery handled its casting of Democratic politician, Stacey Abrams, as the president of a united Earth in the show’s finale. Personal politics aside, ROBB seems to feel Star Trek’s producers missed an opportunity to send a message about unity at a time when we could all use it.
Selecting performers to send a political message doesn’t always work the way you think it will.
I wonder what your thoughts are on the Stacey Abrams cameo in the season finale of Discovery. Boy, do I have thoughts.
There’s a lot of division online about it, and I’m guessing if you’re a liberal you love it, and if you’re a conservative you hate it. Full disclosure I consider myself a center-right person. Like many my views are nuanced and it’s hard to contain my personal views into one political ideology.
Having said that, I was pretty appalled at seeing the buildup and her reveal, but not because of opposition to her politically. It’s not like I think Discovery is changing anyone’s mind about anything political by her being on the show in the role of President of a United Earth. Most people watching the show are probably already in her corner.
No, my issue is what this means in the context of Star Trek, and the creatives behind the show do not have any understanding of what Star Trek is. This is about the power the show used to have and could have today if they really cared.
Some of what I have to say stems from listening to you and your pals on the Inglorious Treksperts Podcast. I’ve shared these thoughts with the ether and a lot of people just get mad that I’d even suggest this was a bad idea. I’ve checked and rechecked my wording, and I think people are misinterpreting me. Whether that’s my fault for not adequately getting the idea across properly, or people just jumping to conclusions without considering what I’ve said, perhaps you can lend an objective ear and tell me if I’m not seeing the forest for the trees.
I think my fellow imagination connoisseurs can respectfully counter or advocate for my stance as well.
Trek, at its best, has taken on political issues, posed questions, and left it up to the viewer to decide what to do and in doing so was never preachy. That’s not the case with Kurtzmann, and this cameo passes over social commentary and gets directly into political candidate advocacy. Never has Trek’s political stance been as meta as it was in this season finale.
Stacey Abrams is an active politician, seeking election in a gubernatorial race. This is not just a cameo where she’s standing around in a costume. She is held up as a leader of United Earth. This representation is no accident, how can it be?
The additional problem is she’s unequivocally controversial. Some have debated me on that, and to them, I say it’s not an opinion, nor is it hard to accept even if you agree with her. There is a factual case to be made that she is incredibly divisive.
Trek used to be a bridge between ideologies. Isn’t that a bolder idea now than partisan political advocacy? Can’t Trek be the kind of show that bring people together in this extraordinarily divided time? I’m sure those answers are rhetorical for you.
Do you know who would have been a great choice to put in that role? Michelle Obama. We all know they’re not putting a conservative up there, and I wouldn’t expect them to. I would not be critical for not putting up someone from the right, in principle. Anybody from the political realm is going to have some controversy attached to someone.
But Mrs. Obama is not an active politician, seeking re-election. Whether one agrees with her policies or not, she seems like a principled person and has done some great non-partisan work out there. I am not a fan of her husband as our President, but he’s not now.
Sure, there’s the issue of scheduling and getting her, so who knows if it’s even possible, but my point is putting Stacey Abrams up as some paragon of unity is tone-deaf to the issues surrounding her, in IMO, whether they are of her own making or not. There are better choices that are not active politicians.
Here’s another possibility, and I think it’s better and bolder. It would inspire exactly the kind of discussion amongst people that Trek used to. Have Earth’s leadership get off the shuttle, and it’s not a single person. Keep Stacey Abrams up there and some other active politician from the right. Use how controversial she and maybe others are…
This would send the message through that scene that shows the audience that two people from opposing ideologies can come together under the flag of a UNITED Earth. Something that sells that message without having any character says a word.
That would have been Phenomenal with a capital P.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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