Captain Kirk, Commander Kang, and an open door……
A door has been opened….will you step through it with me?
It’s November 7, 2020 and Joe Biden has been declared President-Elect of the United States in the most contentious presidential election in history. Our country is polarized with basically a 51 / 49 split in votes. So although we have a winner, as citizens, we fall very clearly into only two groups. There’s talk even now about the election of 2024 and how Mr. Trump will mobilize his base again behind either himself or another similar candidate. And what will happen then? Or actually, what will happen over the next four years? Will we remain polarized? Will this be four more years of gridlock? of name-calling? of insults?
Or by some amazing twist, will we come to a place of respect and cooperation and begin working together toward mutual benefit?
That is the door. Joe Biden has cracked it open. Will you walk through with me? Can you and I, despite our differences on policy, walk through the door of compromise and cooperation?
November 1, 1968 Star Trek, The Original Series, “The Day of the Dove”
Captain Kirk has received a distress signal from a human colony, but when they beam down, there is no evidence of any attack and no evidence of a colony at all! A Klingon ship arrives suddenly in orbit and moments later, Klingon Commander Kang arrives on the surface with a small band of warriors. Kang and Kirk begin arguing. Kirk blames Kang for destroying the colony and Kang claims that the Enterprise destroyed his battle cruiser. They argue:
KIRK: We took no action against your ship, Kang.
KANG: Were the screams of my crew imaginary?
Spock secretly transports the landing party first and then the Klingons to the Enterprise. The fight continues aboard the ship and suddenly turbolifts and bulkheads are locked in such a way that there are only 38 of Kirk’s crew free, the exact same number as the Klingon group. Navigation controls are locked out as well, and the Enterprise goes to Warp 9 and hurtles headlong toward the end of the galaxy.
More bizarre things start happening. All phaser weapons vanish and swords, knives, and battle axes appear. The fight continues, but Doctor McCoy soon tells Captain Kirk:
MCCOY: Jim. Johnson’s heart wound is almost healed. Same with the other casualties. Sword wounds in the vital organs, massive trauma, shock. They’re all healing at a fantastic rate.
SPOCK: It would appear that the entity wants us alive.
KIRK: Why? So we can fight, and fight, and keep coming back for more like some bloody coliseum? What’s next, the roar of crowds?
Spock, Kirk, and McCoy are now aware that an alien is behind this bizarre situation, but the Klingons have no idea what is happening and just want to continue killing humans.
Science prevails. . . .
Spock, McCoy, and Kirk team up and develop a strategy to convince the Klingons what is happening and to free everyone from the bondage of this deadly alien.
KIRK: It subsists on the emotions of others.
SPOCK: This one appears to be strengthened by mental irradiations of hostility, violent intentions.
KIRK: It exists on the hate of others.
SPOCK: To put it simply. And it has acted as a catalyst, creating this situation in order to satisfy that need. It has brought together opposing forces, provided crude instruments in an effort to promote the most violent mode of conflict.
KIRK: And kept numbers and resources balanced, so that it can maintain a constant state of violence. It’s got to have a vulnerable area. We’ve got to get rid of it.
SPOCK: Then all hostile attitudes on board must be eliminated. The fighting must end and soon.
KIRK: Or we’re a doomed ship, travelling forever between galaxies, filled with eternal bloodlust, eternal warfare. Kang has got to listen. We’ve got to pool our knowledge and get rid of this thing.
They triumph through cooperation
Faced with the inevitability of traveling through space for eternity, killing and rekilling each other, even the Klingons agree to cease hostilities and combine with the human crew to DEFEAT THEIR COMMON ENEMY. After finally convincing the Klingons to declare a truce, the episode ends with this wonderful dialogue:
SPOCK: The cessation of violence appears to have weakened it, Captain. I suggest that good spirits might make an effective weapon.
(The Klingons and humans begin smiling and slapping each other’s backs, shaking hands, creating a general sense of peace and co-existence where previously there was only hatred and violence.)
KIRK: Get off my ship. You’re a dead duck here. You’re powerless. We know about you, and we don’t want to play. Maybe there are others like you around. Maybe you’ve caused a lot of suffering, a lot of history, but that’s all over. We’ll be on guard now, ready for you. So ship out! Come on! Haul it!
MCCOY: Yeah, out already.
KANG: Out! We need no urging to hate humans. But for the present, only a fool fights in a burning house. Out!
Is this our fate?
Are we to remain perfectly balanced, split down the middle, hating “the other side”, waiting for the next election so we can shift the tide again? And then four more years of arguments, of insults, of gridlock. And then another election that shifts power one more time. Is this really where we are headed? I think it is a real possibility because the two groups are already evenly divided.
What saves Kirk and the Klingons?
First, Kirk discovers that there is an alien affecting the situation. But he must then convince Commander Kang to put down arms and cooperate. Fortunately, Kirk has captured Kang’s wife, Mara, and she, after much effort, convinces Kang to cease hostilities.
We too must realize that there is “an alien among us,” that spirit, that part of us that grows fear. Once we let fear into our hearts, it grows there and generates hate, violence, racism, bigotry, cruelty of all sorts. But we can indeed cast out this alient, just as Kirk and Kang did. We can create our own “day of the dove.”
How do we save ourselves?
- TALK PEACE (LARGE SCALE): Right now we need leaders at the world level who will step forward and just start talking peace, and keep talking peace.
- STOP all gloating, parodies, insults. I know you are sure that some jokes are totally justified, but you must realize that these jabs just add fuel to the fire of division. So drum up some self-control and resist the temptation to forward that meme or joke that clearly insults and demeans another, no matter how justified you think you are. Mr. Spock himself suggests the antidote when he says: The cessation of violence appears to have weakened the alien, Captain. I suggest that good spirits might make an effective weapon. At that moment the humans and Klingons begin laughing and joking and the alien leaves the ship. It’s something to consider. Certainly, continuing to fill social media with hateful and belittling graphics and memes–no matter what side you are on–is not going to help any of us. And do not use the word “justified” to explain your use of insult. Let the great divine spirit be the judge, not you. You do not need to say, “He deserves it. Remember what he did to us.” Leave it alone.
- DEVELOP FAITH / BELIEVE IN DIVINE ORDER: This is a huge step, but we need to start moving in this direction. For help, study the SEVEN FAITH-BUILDING STEPS found in my earlier BLOG.
- TALK PEACE (SMALL SCALE): All of us need to take up the cause of peace, despite being shouted down again and again. Just do it and keep doing it. Surround yourself with people who feel this way. Start a book club and cover great books like SEE NO STRANGER by Valarie Kaur or THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz.
- PRAY FOR THE ANGRY PEOPLE: We must stop the cycle of hate and anger. That means when YOU are tempted by hate and anger, you have to be strong enough to say NO. When your level of faith is deep, you can see those angry people as divine souls just like you. They are simply filled with fear and longing for love. I know you want to react to them with anger and argument, but it is time to embrace them with love, to see them as divine creatures who have lost their way.
If you can work with me on these five steps, then we are indeed, both of us, walking through that open door to a new life of peace and cooperation. Don’t you think this is a better alternative to hurtling through the galaxy in a never-ending cycle of hate, vengeance, and cruelty? Isn’t it better to help each other, as Captain Kirk did, to see the alien among us, that part of us that thrives on cruelty and hate?