Monday, May 16, 2005

George Bush... Sith Lord?

If something in the blogsphere is big enough to end up on the ‘Today Show’, it has to be pretty big. And while I was not aware of the blogsphere conversation, this is something that occurred to me a while back.

It seems that the similarities of Sen. Palpatine (aka. The Emperor or Darth Sidious) in the Star Wars prequels, has not been lost on fans. What similarities? This senator uses crises that he himself engineered to gain power. In Episode I, he uses the invasion of Naboo to become Chancellor. In Episode II, the threat of the Clone Wars beginning is used to grant emergency powers to the new Chancellor. In Episode III, it will be used to finish his power-grab and eliminate the Jedi. There is still a senate at the end of Ep. III (Revenge of the Sith), but it has become weak and insufficient to rein in the Executive power of Palpatine.

Of course, George Lucas wrote this all long before 911, the Patriot Act, or Iraq. He didn’t need to have known Bush to have written this. It is simply an archetype of those who seek power. But what of those who see modern events in a sci-fi movie, are they wrong? No, they aren’t. It is like the similarities people find in ‘The Lord of the Rings”. Tolkien emphasized that there were no allegories in his books, and yet, we can see them all around us. Because it is written true to the way life works, it will have similarities, no matter what time you live in, or on what planet you live, Star Wars as well as LOTR.

As for 911, it looks just as contrived as Naboo. We don’t have a reason to be in Iraq except to finish what we started, and the Patriot act and the recent Real ID act have given the Executive branch of government enormous power. For instance, the Real ID act, gave the Sec. of Homeland Security authority to disregard any law he sees fit to make the borders secure, without Judicial oversight, or the responsibility to pay for ANY damages. I read it myself. And the vote in the senate was 100-0, notwithstanding many emailed and faxed objections. The legislators worry about re-election and campaign fund more than they do their constituents, or what is right.

The Daily Kos ponders this as well and gives us these quotes...

# "So this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause..."
# "Those who are not with me are against me...and the Republic"
# "Only the Sith (dark side of force) sees life in black and white..."
# "What's the point of putting him on trial if he controls Senate..."
# "Through destruction I will bring peace and freedom to the galactic empire..."

The Coming Storm talks about it but I don't think they have all the right parallels. Warning there are spoilers. (I was doing so good in avoiding them too... alas)

Lew Rockwell has a nice quote from Lucas, even if he ends up on a anti-Lincoln diatribe.

All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it’s Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea...What kinds of things push people and institutions into this direction?

That’s the issue that I’ve been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire? That’s paralleled with: How did Anakin turn into Darth Vader? How does a good person go bad, and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? It isn’t that the Empire conquered the Republic, it’s that the Empire is the Republic...One day Princess Leia and her friends woke up and said, ‘This isn’t the Republic anymore, it’s the Empire. We are the bad guys. Well, we don’t agree with this. This democracy is a sham, it’s all wrong.’

There were many others, but these were the ones that called out to me. Strange times we live in, when life imitates art, and sci-fi art at that.

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