During a recent interview with The New York Times, presidential candidate (and noted butter lover) Ted Cruz revealed that he’s a big fan of Star Trek, going as far as to speculate that Captain Kirk—as a “working class,” “passionate fighter for justice”—is a Republican. William Shatner has since weighed in and does not agree.
From the Times interview (conducted by Ana Marie Cox):
You’re also a fan of ‘‘Star Trek.’’ Do you prefer Captain Kirk or Captain Picard? Absolutely James Tiberius Kirk.
If you were a journalist interviewing you, what would you ask?Who knows, I might well ask, ‘‘Kirk or Picard?’’ I’ve never been asked that before, and I actually have a strong opinion on it.
Well, that goes with being a Kirk person. It does indeed. Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at ‘‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’’ it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk’s rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective, you need both heart and mind.
I thought your critique might go in a different direction, because ‘‘Next Generation’’ is more touchy-feely in its politics than the original. No doubt. The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ was grittier. 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.
Do you have a suspicion about whether Kirk would be a Democrat or a Republican? I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat.
Then Cruz made a joke about making out with (or, more accurately, not making out with) space aliens.
William Shatner—who played Captain Kirk—was not amused.
So Captain Kirk was what? Libertarian?
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Image via Star Trek.