Vote for Kirk

Oh WaPo….WaPo, WaPo, WaPo, what are we supposed to do with you? Clearly your ability to critically think and analyze…well, anything…is sorely lacking, but you’re good for a laugh. Every court needs a jester I suppose, but remember, eventually shticks become repetitive and unfunny, which is where you’re rapidly heading. Your recent article on how Ted Cruz was incorrect about Captain James T. Kirk’s capability to lead, thus making a Kirk-esque character ideal for president, would have been perhaps a bit funnier if the analysis wasn’t so utterly blasé and superficial. Sorry, but neither Spock nor Picard are better captains than Kirk. The evidence (such a serious term for television episodes, no?) presented in the article to prove Kirk as essentially incapable without his sidekick Spock (completely ignoring the old country doctor), were limited to those moments in which Kirk is *gasp* human, complete with human failings, through which he must battle, as all people must, in order to do the right thing.

What about the episode “Arena”, during which Kirk is faced with an extreme situation without the benefit of Spock and Bones at his side? He successfully manages to rig together a makeshift cannon in order to give himself an edge over a physically superior foe and yet, when the time came to deliver the killing blow, winning his freedom from the third-party aliens who had captured him, he chooses instead to show mercy. Or “The Corbomite Maneuver”, during which Kirk (after Spock fails to come up with a logical solution to their predicament) successfully outwits a supposedly deadly enemy, saving his crew from destruction and, when the enemy ship Fesarius is damaged by the Enterprise’s escape, puts together a boarding party to offer aid? What results is an agreement that an emissary of the Federation (by extension, humanity) is chosen to accompany the alien Balok in order to facilitate the exchange of cultures. The one time Spock is put in direct command of anything in a critical situation, “The Galileo Seven”, all the logic Spock employs still gets two crewmen killed. “I’ve taken every logical step, yet still two men are dead.” Bones’s reaction sums it up perfectly, “A little less analyzing, Spock and a little more action.” Spock succeeds in that episode when he finally takes a Kirk-esque risk to jettison the fuel and ignite it in order to signal the Enterprise. Kirk is the quintessential leader, a man of purpose and action, but he is not a mindless, aggressive brute, as the WaPo author seems to believe. He is a leader, willing to communicate, committed to fulfilling the Enterprise’s five year mission and represent Star Fleet in an ambassadorial capacity, but when push comes to shove, he’s not afraid to act decisively based on principle. He does not hide behind “multiculturalism” or use “moral uncertainty” as excuses to let wrongs go unchallenged nor allow his crew to be imperiled, such as in “The Return of the Archons” when a tyrannical computer posing as a god mentally subjugates the inhabitants of Beta III and threatens to crash the Enterprise. Kirk’s strength is in his principles, his commitment to his crew and to Star Fleet’s mission. Picard may have been the first freshman to win the academy marathon, but Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru with the quintessential mindset necessary for any leader: there is no such thing as a no-win scenario. Kirk does not give up, nor does he hide behind moral relativism as an excuse for inaction.

This is the sort of leader today’s America needs. There’s no denying that there is great and possibly terrible change on the wind. We have amassed enemies both foreign and domestic, are facing economic instability and our culture is at war with itself. We do not need another leader prone to pontificating in place of acting, one more likely to capitulate to our enemies than to stand up to them or one more enamored with his own fame than with leading our nation lawfully. We do not need Khan’s treachery or Trelaine’s childishness. Picard, while not my preference since I found Star Trek: Next Generation dreadfully dull, isn’t necessarily bad, just not the leader for a times such as these. He is the peacetime leader, the ambassador for when the wars are won. When asked some years ago about how their characters would have handled Saddam Hussein, Shatner said Kirk’s response would be to tell Hussein to “drop dead.” Even Patrick Stewart joked that Picard would “still be talking.” Kinda says it all and kudos to Cruz for recognizing it.