All the incarnations of Star Trek have been noted for helping to inspire new advances in technology like tablets, cell phones (which is funny since the original show’s communicators look so outdated to what we have today), scanners and so on. And Star Trek has paved the way for new ways of how we view ourselves, notably in terms of racial and sexual equality. But one thing lately has popped up that may be overlooked given all the tensions going on in this country lately.
Namely the entire Occupy insert a city or neighborhood Movement. No matter where one stands on the Movement, it has to be agreed that this phenomenon could easily foment and lead to ominous developments. This was seen in the two-part Star Trek: Deep Space NIne story “Past Tense” where Captain Ben Sisko and members of his crew are trapped in the early 21st century and are caught up in the so-called Bell Riots. Taking place in San Francisco in 2024, the Starfleet personnel are mistaken for being unemployed and disenfranchised and are placed in a ghetto-like “Sanctuary District” and inadvertantly change history.
As Ben Sisko and his crew try to correct the timeline by being active participants in the Bell Riots (chiefly by Ben Sisko assuming the identity of Gabriel Bell who was killed while defending him; Bell would become an important figure in helping to bring about social justice in the U.S.) the plight of the District residents are shown. For the most part, many of them have been unemployed for a long time and are unable to get any kind of support from the government. Just look at the latest news stories to get an idea of what the Bell Riots participants were protesting. It’s easy to see how today’s current protests, which are already becoming violent, could lead to those opposing the Occupy Movement for a severe government crackdown in order to restore order.
This isn’t meant to support one side or another, it’s just to point out how relevant Star Trek remains to this day and not just in terms of cool gadgets. Hopefully these Bell Riots that involved Ben Sisko and company won’t come to pass. Then the one thing the “Past Tense” episodes will get correct is the prediction that the Yankees won the ’99 World Series.
Lewis T. Grove