Never Give Up, Never Surrender!
When Galaxy Quest (a 1999 parody of Star Trek) enjoyed a triumphant return to our “small screen” the other day – I couldn’t help seeing Tea Party parallels.
The story begins with a flashback to an episode of the fictional TV series “Galaxy Quest” when on the bridge of our star-ship the crew encounters a problem ..
Pilot Laredo: Oh no! They’re everywhere! There are traps opening everywhere!
Lt. Tawny Madison: We’re trapped!
Science Officer Lazerus: We’re surrounded Commander. [Violent battle ensues]
Tech Sgt. Chen : It’s a core meltdown sir – it can’t be stopped
Science Officer Lazerus Surrender may be our only option.
Commander Taggert: NO! Never give up, Never Surrender!
Pilot Laredo: Your orders sir? .. Sir, your orders?!
Commander Taggert: Activate the Omega 13.
The characters in the movie are a group of bored stressed out has-been actors with uncertain employment prospects. They are veterans of an iconic sci-fi tv show, living what they consider a humdrum existence, past success overbalanced by present decay. It’s not long however before they are surrounded by aliens and struggling for survival. Now in order to survive and live up to their potential they must re-learn and live out the values of the “historical documents” that underpinned their earlier success.
Aliens R Us
The woe-begone heroes of are lured aboard, so to speak, the space ship of aliens where they learn their mission from Mathesar, the sweet, childlike leader of the Thermians (aliens) who now face a brutal enemy – Sarris a reptilian-like warlord (a different alien) bent on wiping out their civilization. Here Mathesar explains both the plight and the hope of his people to the newly arrived and stunned crew of actors.
“For years, ever since we first received transmission of your historical documents we’ve studied every facet of your missions and strategies ..
The past hundred years our society had fallen into disarray. Our goals, our values had become scattered but since the transmission we have modeled every aspect of our society from your example and it has saved us. Your courage and teamwork and friendship through adversity. In fact all you see around you has been taken from the lessons garnered from the historical documents. “
forward to 5:30 for relevant scene
Courage, Adversity & Historical Documents
Shocked and unnerved that they are now operating in an unpredictable and dangerous reality versus the scripted safety of their past – the crew reject the mission. On the point of leaving they are turned when the Commander (Tim Allen) appeals to them:
“You guys want to go home? .. and miss out on all of this? Come on, guys .. this is the role of a lifetime”
Thrust into the adventure, our heroes face the fact that now everything is for real. Facing dire consequences, with the burden of responsibility for the future that the “Historical Documents” promise – they must now think, plan, and act for themselves. If you are in a tea party I suspect you can relate to the situation.
Leadership and responsibility are recurring themes. In the film (and the Tea Party) whenever the odds seem overwhelming and all seems lost there appears a leader or an event to spur the crew on with an appeal to duty and sometimes a sense of outrage (by Grapthor’s Hammer!) that carries them forward. Early in the film when Lazerus tries to desert his friends, the Commander brings him back with a key phrase that toggles his sense of responsibility and loyalty –
Lazerus: “I don’t care what you say! I won’t go out there!”
Commander: “The show must go on!”
Lazerus: “Damn You!”
The troops aren’t always happy about their mission and leaders struggle to find the right keys to turn people from retreat to advance. Truth, clear direction, appeals to instinct and exhilarating challenges end up opening the doors for the various crew members. Tea parties also depend heavily on their leaders; their ability to motivate and organize.
Like most civic or service organizations tea party leaders vary greatly and change periodically in each club. Although not universally true, one disturbing problem in blue and swing states is that government and interest group intimidation scares away many small business people. Then too, tea parties may fail to actively recruit ranks of leaders from other potentially like-minded service organizations. Regardless, tea party leadership is an act of love and valor which all must applaud.
Taking Out the Trash
And just when you think things can’t get much worse for our intrepid heroes .. reality steps in. In the movie a young fan with key computer codes, the one person who can save the day, is forced to break from the action at the critical moment to do his chores: taking out the trash.
I’ll wager any tea party leader can identify with his plight. 99.99% of tea party activists are 100% volunteer: when they pull together information or stage an event it’s on top of all the same responsibilities they had before this challenge began. For leaders it’s not unusual to hear tales of people working late into the night. They know they are shouldering the load of others but they work on like soldiers. Sometimes they fall by the wayside and others must pick up the torch.
The Omega Solution
In the end it is the “Omega” device that saves the day. What is the “Omega” device? Although apropos to our subject, I won’t give away the movie ending. Instead I’ll offer a dictionary definition that suggests a real world solution.
Omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet) is often used to denote the last, the end, or the ultimate limit of a set. The symbol for Omega Ω, is used to denote (among other things):
- In statistical mechanics Ω refers to the multiplicity in a system.
- In textual criticism, the archetype of a manuscript tradition
- In sociology, used to refer to the lowest ranking member of a group
As we down here in the real world have come to realize: it is up to us regular ordinary everyday citizens – the “last”. We have the responsibility to secure our future from brazen aggressive despots. It is the tea party, the lowest ranking members of the political strata, the archetypical common men and women, the multiple, ultimate and quintessential middle class flyover un-elites .. who are themselves the Omega that must turn back .. to our historical documents to save the day.