Stacey Abrams Is President Of Earth, The Universe And Everything

Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for Georgia governor and all-around awesome person, made a cameo appearance in the fourth season finale of "Star Trek: Discovery" as president of the entire Earth, not just the Black parts. Abrams is a big "Star Trek" fan who raved about “Discovery” specifically in a behind-the-scenes video where she discussed her role.

She said:

Whatever the story was, I wanted to be a part of it because watching Michael Burnham come into her power as Captain, watching this party-crew reclaim itself — not only in a new era but in a new space that is so reminiscent of what they remembered but so different — that to me speaks of why we do the work we do in politics. It’s about giving people hope and giving them a better life and creating this vision of what is possible.

Some quick back story: "Star Trek: Discovery" is currently set 900 years after the original "Star Trek,” and cataclysmic events have devastated the Federation. Abrams as Earth’s president announces that the planet is ready to rejoin NATO the Federation and reclaim its place in the larger universe. This is perfect casting. However, the usual rightwing creeps are freaking out.


Jack Butler at the National Review declared, “Stacey Abrams Does Not Deserve To Be President Of The Earth.” This is bizarre and suggests Butler has trouble distinguishing fact from fiction, which explains a lot. "Star Trek: Discovery" is not a documentary and although Black women age well, Abrams is not literally playing herself.

Ted Cruz, an actual sitting senator, threw a tantrum as soon as the episode aired: “what…the…HELL…is…this??!” he exclaimed in shock and horror like Heidi Cruz probably did on their honeymoon. I imagine this was a tremendous blow for Cruz. He’s a dork, and "Star Trek" has provided sanctuary for dorks since the original series premiered in 1966. However, "Star Trek" is affirmatively anti-asshole. There’s simply no room for Cruz in the franchise’s bold vision of a post-asshole utopia. He should console himself with reruns of the 1990s “Hercules" show starring fellow Twitter troll Kevin Sorbo.

The cast and crew of "Star Trek: Discovery” clearly adore Abrams, and it’s their show, not Cruz's or Butler’s. White dudes who are supposed longtime “Trekkies” claim that “Disco” is overly woke, but Star Trek has always promoted a progressive ideology. Cruz, Butler, and other conservatives have every right to enjoy "Star Trek" or shout “Khan!” whenever mildly frustrated, but as pop culture vlogger Steve Shives noted, they have likely “failed to comprehend the intended meaning of Star Trek.” Gene Roddenberry and Jesus Christ have at least one thing in common.

Whenever I re-watch past Trek series, I’m pleasantly surprised by how punch-you-in-the-face liberal it is. Captain Jean-Luc Picard dismissed phony demonstrations of callow patriotism as “child like” and even “savage.” He declared such "nonsense ... centuries behind us.” When it was suggested that he encourage an otherwise rational society’s development of a religion, he passionately refused to “send them back to the dark ages of superstition and ignorance and fear.” This is all during the Reagan/Bush era.

In an episode from 1988, Picard reads the riot act to a 20th Century financier who’d slept through centuries of progress, much like most conservatives.

PICARD: A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We've eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy.

OBVIOUS REPUBLICAN: You've got it all wrong. It has never been about possessions. It's about power.

PICARD: Power to do what?

OBVIOUS REPUBLICAN: To control your life, your destiny.

PICARD: That kind of control is an illusion

There’s a prescient episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" from 1995 where the crew visits San Francisco in 2024. The US government at the time had responded to homelessness and unemployment by walling off sections of the city that eventually served as internment camps for the impoverished. Our heroes are horrified.

SISKO: One of the main complaints against the Sanctuary Districts was overcrowding. It got to the point where they didn’t care how many people were in here. They just wanted to keep them out of sight.

BASHIR: And once they were out of sight, what then? I mean, look at this man. There’s no need for that man to live like that. With the right medication, he could lead a full and normal life.

SISKO: Maybe in our time.

BASHIR: Not just in our time. There are any number of effective treatments for schizophrenia, even in this day and age. They could cure that man now, today, if they gave a damn.

SISKO: It’s not that they don’t give a damn, Doctor. It’s that they’ve given up. The social problems they face seem too enormous to deal with.

BASHIR: That only makes things worse. Causing people to suffer because you hate them is terrible, but causing people to suffer because you have forgotten how to care? That’s really hard to understand.

The 1960s series was also progressive for its time with a diverse crew (including a Russian on the bridge during the height of Cold War paranoia). Despite common stereotypes, Kirk wasn’t a lethal weapon Rambo type. He prioritized diplomacy over brute force and had no tolerance for bigotry on his ship.

The message of "Star Trek" was consistently optimistic but never wavered from a core belief: humanity’s best hope for future progress and even survival requires abandoning nationalism, ethnocentrism, consumerism, and scientific denialism. Republican values won’t get you warp drive.

Earth’s future is Stacey Abrams, not Marjorie Taylor Greene. George Takei, who knows more about Trek than Ted Cruz, agrees. He tweeted, "The right is so hopping mad about @staceyabrams being cast as President of United Earth on #StarTrekDiscovery It’s really quite amusing and delicious to witness. The franchise has always had strong black women as leaders. And Abrams has got my vote for Earth Prez!"

Now, that’s an endorsement! Keep boldly going, Ms. Abrams.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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