On Friday, President Obama made an amusing sci-fi faux pas, by mixing up two of the genre’s most venerated franchises – Star Trek and Star Wars. In a press conference, Obama insisted that he could not “Jedi mind-meld” with the Republican opposition to reach a magical deal on the sequester. (For the nerdily-challenged, a “Jedi mind trick” is from Star Wars, while a “Vulcan mind-meld” can be found in Star Trek). Although the gaffe was more amusing than anything, Obama could do worse than emulating his science-fiction counterparts.
Star Trek: Trek was a groundbreaking series, both culturally and technologically. The show confronted modern topics such as racism, genocide, and multiculturalism. Throughout the many iterations, the captains were renowned for their quick-thinking and aggressive decision-making. Obama could use some Captain Kirk-ness as negotiations seem to have reached a standstill. He’ll have to boldly go where no President has gone before, by possibly offering deep spending cuts to bring Republicans back to the table. The conventional approach doesn’t seem to be working anymore, and politicians are going to need to get creative to get through the historic deadlock, both for the sequester and the future.
Star Wars: While I wouldn’t recommend that Obama start a civil war, create an army of clones loyal only to him, kill off all the Jedi, and then reorganize the country into the 1st Galactic Empire, he still could pick up a lesson or two from the Star Wars universe. Our military, much like in Star Wars, is out of control, and much of the automatic spending cuts in the sequester are geared towards the military, and perhaps that’s a good thing. So many American military commanders are stuck in a Cold War mindset, training to fight a looming Soviet enemy that no longer exists. The military should stop building massive war machines like aircraft carriers, tanks, and Star Destroyers and instead learn to fight smarter with less. The war on terrorism isn’t going to be won with massive invasion forces, but with surgical strikes by America’s special forces. Even if a deal goes through and the sequester is averted, politicians should take a long hard look at the defense budget and see if it is all worth it. It would be a long, hard fight, but one worth setting their phasers to lightsaber.