Ambassador Fox had taken command of the Enterprise in Captain Kirk’s absence, and demanded Scotty lower their defenses. He refused, of course, which was the right thing to do.
“Your name will figure prominently in my report to the Federation Central,” said Fox, and he left the bridge.
“Well, Scotty,” said Dr. McCoy, “now you’ve done it.”
“Aye,” said Scotty, “The haggis is in the fire for sure, but I’ll not lower my defenses on the word of that mealy-mouthed gentleman down below.”
I wanted to be like Scotty, a man amongst men.
I was eight years old and, because of my Irish heritage, I tried to emulate Scotty. The next day I went around saying, Aye, instead of yes, whenever the opportunity arose. I told my friends I was from Ireland and that’s how we talked (never mind that he was Scottish or that I’d been born in a suburb of Detroit).
This didn’t go over as well as expected. It didn’t make me special or extra cool, and a lot of laughter ensued at my expense.
Alas, I couldn’t be Montgomery Scott. I couldn’t stand on a foundation that wasn’t mine and be accepted (or balanced), a lesson, unfortunately, that didn’t sink in for years to come.
Maybe Mitt Romney should have learned the same thing. A fellow blogger recently wrote about how he’d respected the last two republican nominees before they were nominated, afterwards changing his mind, and I realized I’d felt the same way. I had thought of Romney and McCain as reasonable men. After their nominations, however, they became something different. They lost their way as they tried to please their extremist base. Did the electoral process expose their flaws or did they sell their souls to become something new and ultimately, distorted? Though I’ve been fully entrenched in my left-leaning views for at least 30 years, I’ve always respected moderate conservatives. They’ve challenged my thoughts and sometimes won, or at least made me reconsider or strengthen my position. When considering the laws of nature, and how everything fluctuates around a balanced state, moderate republicans are needed if a balanced government is desired. I may still disagree with them more often than not, but if I remember that balance is adverse to inflexibility, and I keep an open mind, I might discover the truth residing somewhere in between, where I didn’t expect.
I used to believe that the world wouldn’t come to an end if either Romney or McCain had won. Watching them sell their souls has changed my mind.
This past week Romney looked like a shyster lawyer desperately trying to save his guilty client from death row, pleading his case, foolishly trying to use the death of our ambassador to win political points, and the spin that followed only confirmed his guilt. He wasn’t comfortable with what he was doing. At a time when extremists (people way out of balance) are doing what the fanatical do, sane moderates need to come together and calmly create a balanced response.
Desperation isn’t befitting a president. Compared to Mitt, and previously McCain during the economic crisis, President Obama was cool and calm, with his usual measured approach. As a friend recently suggested, referring to the concept of balance and how it comes into play in an engineering challenge, searching for balance is “not something you want to do extremely zealously…” because it “can leave you overly confident that you are close to your goal, and you can miss the signs that reality has shifted and your goal should be elsewhere. When you are zealous about something, you are simply not expecting such change. So balance may be best done in a relaxed fashion, and only approximately, to be resilient to external change.”
Aye, as Scotty the engineer knew well, balance is a moving phenomenon, requiring adjustments in a calm state of mind, formed from a solid foundation of integrity.
Both Romney and McCain have gotten chewed up by their own party as they’re pulled into untenable positions, only to be spit out as uglier versions of their previous selves. They didn’t stay true to who they were. You can’t keep saying Aye to the extremist captain steering the ship too far to the right and not expect to lose your way. They’ve been knocked off their foundation, becoming unbalanced, and as a result get more infuriated with the left. McCain, to this day, comes off as angrier and bitter and further to the right than ever before. I used to respect him and appreciated his opinion, but that man is gone, and Romney is following his lead. He’s unable to provide details about his positions, remaining uncomfortably vague, as if he doesn’t have a leg to stand on, as if he doesn’t know who he is or what he really believes in. And his cohort, Ryan, the right-wing ideologue, looks equally unsettled as he tries to be less of himself and more of a Romney clone, covering up his uneasiness with smugness. As much as I dislike Rick Santorum and his 16th century ways, he at least remained true to his convictions. He knew who he was and so did we.
The Republican Party, now selectively picking the science they want to believe in, is so far out of balance that anyone who enters their black hole – including friends of mine who used to be moderates – are in danger of becoming equally chewed up and spit out until they, too, get stuck against the walls of right-wing imbalance. The surviving moderates, those more willing to compromise – as reasonable adults do – get discarded out the other end.
For our government to find a relatively healthy balance, we need more moderate republicans. At this point, and I know it’s wishful thinking, especially since the republicans could win, I find myself hoping that the current crop gets buried in this election, leaving them and their backward ways behind as the country moves progressively forward, but not in some vindictive sense, it just might be the only hope for moderate conservatives to make a comeback. If not, they should start their own third party (with a moderate platform that believes in science and refuses to bend to the tea partiers of the day), and let the country slowly rediscover them. I suspect it wouldn’t take long before the extremists were once again the minority and my friends found their old moderate selves. Meanwhile, Obama doesn’t need to play to his base, since they’ll vote for him anyway. Instead, he’s taken over the balanced center, causing the republicans who hate him to move even further to the right and spew names they hope will stick, such as socialist, that have no basis in reality.
Ironically, and this should drive my republican friends over the cliff, I think President Obama might actually be one of the more balanced presidents we’ve ever had, and possibly exactly what we need at this time. He just needs to be pushed towards a greener economy, a need that will be put on hold, if not in reverse, should the republicans gain power.
I wonder if even Scotty could save this version of the GOP’s ship. “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain! If I push it any harder the whole thing will blow!”