Now some may find this an odd choice. Isn’t Star Trek a fairly liberal show? No, as shown here, here, and here it understood conservative principles quite well. But nowhere is it more conservative and more patriotic than the episode “The Omega Glory.”
Remember how when talking about comedy films, and I picked out the Star Trek episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” that original series Star Trek episodes tended to fall into one of two categories: Category A (mainly in the third season) crap beyond the telling of and Category B some of the greatest moments of science fiction television ever. But there are some rare middle ground episodes, not spectacularly great, but with one or two really redeeming qualities…the patriotism of this episode is its redeeming quality.
The plot of the episode revolves around Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise finding a world that developed with the exact same history as Earth but with only a few differences (that might be a cool topic, if it wasn’t like the fourth time they used that plot…Star Trek may have been groundbreaking in many ways, but original plot points weren’t always their strong points). On this planet, after an apocalyptic war between Chinese Communists and Americans most of the world has been destroyed. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy come in just to find the final victory of the Communists, or Kohms, by the American Yankees, or Yangs. And the most holy of holies to the Yangs is a document that over the years they’ve slurred the meaning of…luckily for them Kirk came just in time to explain what it really means”
KIRK: This was not written for chiefs. (general consternation) Hear me! Hear this! Among my people, we carry many such words as this from many lands, many worlds. Many are equally good and are as well respected, but wherever we have gone, no words have said this thing of importance in quite this way. Look at these three words written larger than the rest, with a special pride never written before or since. Tall words proudly saying ‘We the People’. That which you call Ee’d Plebnista was not written for the chiefs or the kings or the warriors or the rich and powerful, but for all the people! Down the centuries, you have slurred the meaning of the words, ‘We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.’ These words and the words that follow were not written only for the Yangs, but for the Kohms as well!
CLOUD: The Kohms?
KIRK: They must apply to everyone or they mean nothing! Do you understand?
CLOUD: I do not fully understand, one named Kirk. But the holy words will be obeyed. I swear it.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. In fact, did you know that there are legitimate college courses out there that use this scene to help teach the Constitution?
“So he quotes the Constitution, what’s so patriotic about that” I’m sure some liberal out there is saying.
First it puts the primacy of the Constitution over all other attempts at democratically-republican government, “Many are equally good and are as well respected, but wherever we have gone, no words have said this thing of importance in quite this way.” Unlike some of our dumber Supreme Court Justices, the writers of Star Trek, realized that for all of it’s flaws and places where it could be improved (let’s start by reaffirming the sacrosanct nature of property and contracts or maybe the limited nature of government, we seem to have forgotten those), the U.S. Constitution is one of the greatest documents ever produced.
It is patriotic because the writers understood that “They must apply to everyone or they mean nothing!” “We the people” through our representatives at the Constitutional Convention may have created this document for this nation in 1787, but its principles were not meant for just the citizens of the U.S. The posterity they saw wasn’t just the future generations of the U.S. but hopefully for the world, that we would be the beacon for all to learn from so that all may have “secure the blessings of liberty” (or are you so foolish and closed minded as to think blessings, which the Declaration clearly points out come from God, are only for America.) No, it was meant for all the people. Liberty is a right, not just for Americans, but for all people. Which is why in this episode Kirk skirts the Prime Directive and shows the people of this planet what the words mean.
Of course, as science fiction is best when used to make a point to the audience, one must ask to whom this episode was being directed at. I would say it would be the bigoted, small minded, worthless excuses for Americans who say such unquestionably evil things like “our obligation is to defend Americans, not people under a different flag. Let those people fight for their own freedom and establish their own government” otherwise known as taking the side of tyranny and thus being morally guilty of all the evil which you choose not to stop when you have the power to do so. Nowadays we call them liberals and Paulbots, and make no mistake they are as opposed to what makes the Constitution worthy of admiration as it gets.