Our vessel has been navigating through a turbulent region of space the last couple of weeks. The ship’s computers took substantial damage after we flew too close to a gravitational eddy. (Inexplicably, my laptop’s screen got cracked and my 2 son’s computers stopped working). I’ve had to allocate considerable resources (hundreds of dollars) in order to repair the damage. Additionally, our shuttlecraft’s (car) warp core (engine) continues to have issues. The boys at Jupiter station (the mechanic) still haven’t diagnosed or fixed the underlying problem. Still, I’ve been trying to embrace being grateful not just for the good things but even for these challenges in my life.
Intellectually being grateful seems like an easy thing to do. Yet, when challenges inevitable arise, it’s hard for me not to get upset at either the person causing it or even just frustrated at things not going my way. I wouldn’t be who I am today without having overcome the adversity I have. Overcoming life’s challenges have made me a stronger person. Moreover, part of me still just wants things handed to me. I think the struggle is to maintain perspective to remember all the blessings I already have.
Last week I attended an informal discussion that centered on politics with several other captains at the Unitarian Outpost. Usually what happens with these sorts of discussions is that people already have their mind made up. Most either fall on one side of the aisle or another. I like to think that I bring a nuanced view of things that probably is not easily implemented into policy or able to be sold politically. One thing I’ve learned is that a lot of what happens politically is less about trying to find solutions and more about trying to galvanize popular support. Some politicians will say or do anything so long as it gets them more time in office or damages their opponent.
One of the stances that I subtly took a jab at was critical race theory and the black lives matter movement. One of the captain’s stated that race shapes every social issue. It’s a very difficult subject because there’s undoubtedly systemic racism negatively affecting people of color. Some social issues can be attributed to race. I’m more inclined to believe its less about race and more about ethnocentrism. We like people who look like us ,come from the same educational background, the same class, political beliefs etc. I think it’s easy to generalize things that are happening and attribute it to race when sometimes other factors (usually the distribution of limited financial resources) are the primary reason there’s a social issue.
Just for the record, I support the black lives matter movement and its aim of increasing visibility for issues disproportionately affecting black people. The point I made with regards to it was that I wished that it was called poor lives matter instead because the name is polarizing and isn’t inclusive of Hispanics, Asians, whites and biracial individuals that also face the same issues.
I do have to be careful how I present my views because they can be skewed to justify rather unsavory beliefs. One captain took what I said and was like, “Yea, why does everyone have to go after white christian males?! Can’t we prefer people who are similar without being called racist.” When millions have that same view, it creates discrimination on a vast scale. If Earth is ever going to live up to the civilization presented on Star Trek, we have to make sure everyone has a fair shot while simultaneously convincing people like that guy that his logic implicitly causes racism even if he isn’t racist himself. The same individual, of course, had a conservative approach to the border crisis.
The border crisis is a difficult subject for me to take on. On one hand, we have finite resources, an insufficient infrastructure to process these individuals and the fact that most of those that enter our southern border are people that will end up competing with our unskilled labor force; undercutting wages. On the other hand, as humans, we have a moral responsibility to people coming to us and asking for help. As I stated during the discussion, if I was one of these people from an undeveloped country, I’d probably find myself trying to cross over to the U.S. and hoping for sympathy. Many like to cite the golden rule as a core tenet of belief but seem to forget that when it comes to political issues. There is no easy solution but I do believe we need a more efficient process for those coming from dire situations. There are logistical challenges that should be debated, but we mustn’t lose empathy for our fellow man along the way.