For those of you who didn't live that time, let me provide a bit of historical context. The Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union (Russia) was at its height, with both sides armed to the teeth with enough nuclear, chemical and conventional weapons to destroy the world many times over. Proxy "hot wars" were being fought in places like Africa and South America. The Vietnam War was at its height. At home, the Civil Rights Act was just a few years old, and the conflict between the federal government's enforcement of the new law and some state and local efforts to resist it was one source of violence in American cities. Just a year earlier, during the "long hot summer of 1967" racial violence had led to so much violence in Detroit that the government deployed the 82d Airborne Division and the National Guard to help restore order. There was also conflict between those who were protesting against the war in Vietnam and those who insisted we had to support our military. In a span of just over two months 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis (April 4) and Bobby Kennedy (the Democratic nominee for the 1968 presidential election) was assassinated in Los Angeles (June 6). The episode of Star Trek I am referencing in this blog aired 4 days before the 1968 presidential election.
If I were to summarize the lesson of "The Day of the Dove", I would say it is simply that hate and violence warp our ability to accurately perceive facts and reality, and that cycles of violence are "vicious cycles" where negative behaviors can reinforce each other and perpetuate--even magnify--the cycle. I'm attaching a link to the youtube trailer for this episode. I wish everyone in our country would take 45 minutes and watch the whole episode (you can download it from Amazon and probably other places as well). I wish everyone would familiarize themselves with the history of this turbulent time in America. Spoiler alert: the crew of the Enterprise join forces with their arch-enemies, the Klingons, to defeat a hate monster. They do it by recognizing that hate blinds us, and that we can overcome it if we work to find common ground.
We have a lot of common ground in America. Things are nowhere near as bad today as they were in November, 1968. But we have to make an effort to celebrate the goodness in our country and what we have in common, even as we work through our disagreements over how to make it even better. We have to focus on facts rather than on blind loyalty to this faction or that faction. Beware of any group that tries to prevent you from seeking common ground and understanding with others. Any others. Even the Klingons.
Live long and prosper!