Are we becoming The Empire?

Posted: August 27, 2016 in Author's Notes, Public Relations

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Do you remember the first time you watched Star Wars? I’m sure that after watching the light saber duels, the stormtrooper battles and the X-Wing fighter dog fights, you probably wished that you were Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia or Chewbacca fighting the evil Galactic Empire.  You probably grew up to develop a vision that America was a lot like the Rebel Alliance, with its quest for defeating the “dark side” and bringing freedom to the universe. We had the most diverse beings and the most powerful sense of spirituality. The force was with us all.

However, when I watched the latest Star Wars movie, the story made me think twice about my idea of the Alliance and the Force. The thought that an entire star system of beings would want to resurrect something as evil as the Empire and build the “First Order” was intriguing. And the idea that they would build a new Death Star the size of a planet to completely annihilate the Republic in a purely emotionless strike gave me some emotion of my own. How would anyone pledge their loyalties to an ideology that committed genocide across the galaxy?

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Taking a deeper, more critical look into the direction in which our country is moving, the vision of the Rebel Alliance is not as clear as it used to be.  As we move further and further through time and certain people become more and more powerful, it is my belief that we are beginning to resemble more characteristics of the entity we focused so hard not to be: the Empire. No, we are not at the extremity of the Emperor or a starfleet just yet, Snoke or the First Order, but certain major trends indicate that such a reality is not far away. There are three areas that are currently becoming dominant in our society that are contributing to this destiny.

The Embracement of Hate

The Jedi taught us not to give into our hate. They taught us not to be swayed by the dark side and bring order to the galaxy.  However, in the current state of affairs the expressions of anger and hate are looked at with honor and pride by Americans everywhere.  From angry political rhetoric to extreme acts of civil disobedience, the act of dominating and infuriating people who disagree with an ideology is applauded and waved through the air like the star spangled banner. Good an honorable deeds are looked at as weakness, while hateful acts are the fuel that gives people strength. The Emperor knew this, as he encouraged Anakin and Luke to give into their hate, for it made them powerful. Americans are accepting this as a way to become powerful.

The Proliferation of Arms

There is nowhere in the world where it is easier to obtain arms than in America. Background checks, legislation, training…nothing will stop a motivated individual from getting their hands on weapons. Interest groups have a grip on Washington to ensure these restrictions are kept at a minimum.  And I’m not just talking about guns. Guns are the least of my worries, because pretty soon America will get bored of the power struggle over guns.  They will want something more.  Artillery systems, multiple launch rocket systems, gunships, laser-guided bombs…is it too far of a stretch that Americans will want laser guns?  Ones that are powerful enough to destroy a planet?  The motivation to obtain more and more arms is what an Empire needs to build its Army.  Put enough weapons in the hands of citizens and build their ideology towards the growth of a supreme power, and you have an Imperial Force that is to be reckoned with.

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Dependence on Technology

We depend on technology more than ever before. Communication, information, entertainment. Our entire lives are hooked into technological devices in one way or another. Very similar is the Star Wars universe, where droids are more than just phones – they are walking/rolling beings that interact with humans. And in the case of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, technology was what enabled them to reconstruct themselves. Technology will without a doubt increase its influence over human civilization, which might even lead to advancements in space travel, allowing humans to travel more freely into space, and subsequently dominate it. An Imperial Starfleet is not far fetched. But it was in that moment that Luke saw the wiring and hydraulics of his father’s robotic hand that he realized that he had to turn away from the Dark Side…

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The Empire thrives on rage and domination, giving it its power to rule the galaxy. My concern is that America, on multiple corners has accepted this ideology as the only way. Is there a way to reverse the tide?  I don’t think it will be easy.  After Darth Vader betrayed the Jedi, he essentially reached a point of no return in which he realized that he alone could not turn against the emperor but instead acquiesced to the Dark Side.  In my opinion, much of America has reached that point of no return, where to speak out against the majority will mean annihilation.  But it doesn’t mean that it is impossible.  It will just take an intervention with enough Force to bring good to the nation once again.

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