Deep Space Nine is my favorite Star Trek show and the only one I would consider “good” in the same way I would consider any TV show to be actually good. It is also a TV that, at the time of its release and even today, is considered somewhat of a redheaded stepchild in Trek circles. had continuously low ratings when airing besides The Next Generation and even Voyager. Voyager, of all shows, that’s like getting told Lex Luhor’s haircut is better than yours. But I digress. Deep Space Nine has since seen critical re-evaluation and a vocal minority of Trek fans considers themselves to be “Niners” meaning they are exclusively DS9 fans and can’t identify with any of the other Trek shows. And one could easily, at least when writing for this “fascinating” website write here, easily come to the point where one can use Deep Space Nine as a metaphor for Bernie Sanders.
Like Deep Space Nine Bernie is a true departure from what came before for the last few decades. Previous shows like TNG have somewhat picked up the mantle of the original Star Trek series but a term like “The Next Generation” might as well be code for “new labor” or something. Along the way TNG became a lot longer, more critically acclaimed, yet also more boring than the flawed but exciting Original Series. If that isn’t a metaphor for the progressive party of the US party system then I don’t know what is. I say progressive party intentionally because if we go back more than seventy years we would have to mean the Republicans. At least on federal level. But I digress. After a couple of decades of Democrats shifting further and further back to the left as behooves the former party of slavery owners and a fit of cosmic irony, I suppose, after the last gasp of Jimmy Carter’s sole good man in office, center-right friend of the Banksters Bill Clinton, and centrist Barack Obama it seemed like my assessment from a few years ago, that America had no leftist politicians left, were somewhat ill-informed. Bernie is often accused to be a loony leftie and not a true democrat. Similarly, DS9 was often accused to be too dark, complex (read: complicated for tired TV critics and mouth-breathers that made up the most of TNG’s 17 million audience) and “most definitely not Star Trek” but who would ever say something as stupid as that? Quite like how DS9 was made up of Original Series fanboys, who gleefully homaged the original as often as possible, to the detriment of honoring TNG maybe, but TNG was 80% crap compared to TOS’s 50% so that was probably okay, Bernie Sanders is a true fanboy of one of the most important, beloved, and influential presidents America ever had. Who, besides all of these things, was also a decent man.
Just like many DS9 critics will point out that the show wasn’t Trek enough to be mainstream, one could argue it was Trek enough: it just harkened back to the Original Series, something that, after seven years of TNG’s Gene Roddenberry revisionism and Michael Piller duct-taping what could be saved, many had forgotten the original, so too does Bernie harken back to a time when progressivism meant the New Deal. In many ways it shows how truly shameful the current Democratic party in the US, British Labor pre-Corbyn, and the current Social Democrats pre the split with the Leftist party was in hindsight. A party that once stood for the New Deal abandoned the working people in the 70s and all its ideals to follow Saint Reagan from the 80s onward into centrist and center-right policies all to chase the magic dragon. The New Deal is something worth discussing on its own but suffice it to say it actually worked long-term instead of Saint Reagan’s trickle-down bull crap, a trick that, as economists will tell you, can only ever work once. It’s sad to realize that a policy that was once capable of creating a new American society post-WW2, put millions back to work, and, had FDR lived longer, had created something similar to the German welfare state, as former FDR-appointed people were responsible for rebuilding West Germany after the war. Not to mention getting FDR elected four times, is now considered too loony lefty for mainstream American politics. SORRY, DID THIS GET TOO REAL FOR YOU FOR A SEC?
Sadly, Bernie does share another thing with Deep Space Nine: low ratings. Unlike DS9, however, they are not nearly as bad. DS9’s were good enough to chuck along for a full-length seven season run but couldn’t compete with TNG and Voyager but Bernie’s numbers are good enough to challenge Clinton in the primaries right until California. And Bernie is the kind of grumpy old man to actually do that. And yet there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not the Express train: just like DS9 and any other critically acclaimed but commercial flop went on to become a cult classic to finally emerge as easily the best Trek show in the eyes of Trekkies and actual human beings, so too will Bernie, if he loses or the FBI drops their investigations, eventually lose to something a little bit more pallatable to old people set in their neo-lib ways. And why yes, I do equate Hillary Clinton to Voyager. Her magic reset button is almost as bad as Voyager’s and just like Janeway she could be just as easily the villain of the piece. But I digress again. DS9’s main gift to TV was the popularization of serialization, actual character development and good acting (a token Patrick Stewart doesn’t count as long as Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes can slum it). Bernie’s legacy, should he not decide to run and win next time, will be the return of progressivism into an establishment party, the return of people championing for a New Deal and real people instead of just Wall Street. Then again, after DS9 we had Voyager and Enterprise. And Abrams… but Brian Fuller is making a new show and he wrote for DS9, right? Wait, he also wrote for Voyager…