America is in the midst of another US presidential primary season. That means a bunch of politicians are doing whatever they can to appeal to almost every demographic in the country.
So if one of them meets a "Star Wars" fan, they'll probably try to win their vote by pretending to do a mind meld or saying how much they hate those pesky Cylons (which happen to be from "Battlestar Galactica," not "Star Trek"). Then the world gets to sit back and enjoy the awkward hilarity of their misinformed pandering.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a candidate for the Republican nomination, already had such a moment in an awkward video attempt to audition for "The Simpsons" on BuzzFeed. Still, I'll give him props for one thing. He appears to have a genuine interest in and prowess for pop-culture knowledge that most of politicians would kill to possess. He knows enough to have a conversation about "Star Trek," as he did in a Q&A with The New York Times Magazine that was published Thursday and led to a strange assertion about the political leanings of the franchise's most famous character.
Interviewer Ana Marie Cox asked the senator about his love for all things "Star Trek" and whether he preferred Capt. James T. Kirk from the original "Star Trek" series or Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Cruz said he's an old-school Kirk fan because he prefers "a complete captain" who possesses the "heart and mind" needed to be a spaceship captain.
"The original 'Star Trek' was grittier," Cruz told the Times. "Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original 'Star Trek' pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing."
Cox then asked Cruz whether he thought Kirk would be a Democrat or a Republican. Unless you're completely ignorant of American politics, you can probably guess Cruz's response.
"I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat," Cruz said.
Well, there is at least one person out there who disagrees with Cruz's assessment -- and that's Capt. Frickin' Kirk himself. Actor William Shatner, who played Kirk in the original "Star Trek" series, jumped on his Twitter account on Thursday to voice his opinion on Cruz's claim that Kirk should have an "(R)" next to his name if he ever ran for public office.
Star Trek wasn't political. I'm not political; I can't even vote in the US. So to put a geocentric label on interstellar characters is silly— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 23, 2015
Frankly, I'm not going to get in the middle of this debate. But it's not because I believe that pop culture doesn't belong in national politics or that our time should be better spent discussing more important issues potential presidential candidates.
In fact, I really want this war of words between Cruz and Shatner to escalate so they'll have to fight each other the way that Spock and Kirk did in the "Amok Time" episode with that battle music playing in the background. I'm sure that the folks at CNN are thinking the same thing so they can use their to show something cool for once.