With the release of “The Last Jedi,” the media hype-machine for all things Star Wars has made the leap to light-speed faster than the Millennium Falcon could on its best day. (And the Millennium Falcon is amazingly fast; after all, it made the famed Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs!) Still, few film franchises are as deeply embedded into our collective conscious as Star Wars. From “I am your father” to “May the Force be with you,” Star Wars is less of a movie, and more of a cultural rite-of-passage.
Perhaps its greatest genius is its spacetime conceit: Since it takes place “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” we’re detached from all semblance of geopolitical proximity to Luke, Leia and the Galactic Empire. It’s not a story about earthly strife; it’s about extraterrestrials from the distant past, taking place elsewhere in the cosmos. Is Darth Vader a Democrat? Is Luke Skywalker a Republican? Is Yoda Pro-Life? Is Snoke… well [SPOILER ALERT!], even after watching “The Last Jedi,” we still have NO idea who Snoke is, was, or how he became so powerful, so forget about Snoke. The point is, Star Wars allows us to project our own beliefs, biases and predispositions into the franchise. And that’s part of the fun.
With that being said, let me introduce – from my own vantage point – the top-10 parallels between the Star Wars “universe” and politics today:
- Just like the Galactic Empire can never be completely defeated, the “swamp” in DC rebuilds itself after every setback – and comes back stronger, more powerful & MUCH more dangerous!
- Unfair tax & trade policies can quickly spiral out of control (In “The Phantom Menace,” the tax & trade dispute eventually led to the evil Darth Sidious gaining control of the Senate)… and we also see this happen on earth, with the Boston Tea Party, NAFTA, Kyoto, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.
- Large government projects (i.e. the Death Star I and II) never seem to be completed as planned. In fact, these big-budget projects often end in disaster! Even in outer space, the government is wasteful and incompetent!
- Oppressive regimes – i.e. the Galactic Empire – will try to consolidate power by outlawing / ostracizing religion (the killing & exile of all the Jedis / defrocking of the Guardians of the Whills). That’s why the 1st Amendment is so important!
- Even the best of us can fall – if we’re surrounded by bad friends / advisors. It happened to Anakin Skywalker, and it can also happen to well-intentioned Republicans who get “seduced” by the liberal Beltway Culture.
- A telltale sign of dictatorships – both on earth, and in a “galaxy far, far away”: Dictatorships will always try to confiscate your weapons. (The Empire sought to obtain all the Kyber Crystals, which are used to create lightsabers… and earthbound dictatorships like the Nazis, Communists, etc. have all banned civilians owning weapons.)
- The unforeseen consequences of seemingly-innocuous political actions can be CATASTROPHIC: When Queen Padme called for a no-confidence vote of Chancellor Valorum, it (inadvertently) led to Darth Sidious taking over and forming a dictatorship. Meanwhile, when Trump appointed Jeff Sessions to Attorney General, it led to Sessions recusing himself from the Russian investigation – which then led to the appointment of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller (where many suspect he’s building a case for impeaching Trump) and the Democrats taking over the Alabama Senate seat.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi predicted the rise of “fake news” when he told his young apprentice: “Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
- Sometimes, you have to work with unsavory groups for the greater good: Han Solo smuggled goods for Jabba the Hutt, and young Anakin pod-raced for him – even though the Hutts are notorious gangsters. Today, we must forge temporary alliances with “bad actors” when battling ISIS and other terrorist groups.
- The greatest threat to liberty isn’t outside invasion – but by free people voluntarily giving up their freedom – which is happening today (Nanny State / Government surveillance), and also happened in the Star Wars prequels! “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause,” said Padme in “Revenge of the Sith,” witnessing the Senators cheer as the Galactic Government accrue even more power… and eventually become a dictatorship.
We need to defend our liberties TODAY – because our civil rights are under assault!