I watched one of my favourite Star Trek (The Next Generation) episodes today.
Yes I am a big fan of Captain Picard and his crew. Some of the political correctness is a bit heavy-handed. But occasionally there is an episode that makes me think.
Today was the episode “Wounded”. See the wikipedia link for a full analysis of the episode.
In brief the episode introduces the Cardasians and gives a prominent role to Transporter Chief Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) who would later serve on Deep Space 9. The episode tells the story of a rogue Star Fleet captain….Ben Maxwell…who is breaching the fragile peace between the Federation and the Cardsassians by attacking space stations and ships. Maxwell had lost his family in the previous war with the Cardassians and O’Brien himself was deeply suspicious of the Cardassians. Indeed he hated them.
Which brings me to the visit of Elizabeth Windsor to Norn Iron. Decency and a nod to History demands that I should call her (at least) Queen Elizabeth. But the weight of history…..national and indeed personal means that this is a bridge I cannot cross. A bridge too far for me. The fact that I have an aversion to the institution of monarchy and the sycophancy which accompanies merely complicates the situation and provides me with the cover to……..HATE.
The simple truth of how I live my life is that there is nobody greater or lesser than I am.
This is as true of Elizabeth Windsor as it is of Martin McGuinness. Neither greater or lesser.
I never bought into the “IRA are animals” and wont condemn Martin McGuinness for his history. He is 62 years old, a working class boy from Derry. I am 60 years old, a working class boy from West Belfast. Nor will I praise Martin McGuinness for the man he is today.
I refuse to believe that he is a better man than I am because he will shake the hand of Elizabeth Windsor tomorrow. Simply put……I would not do it.
Because rather like Captain Jean-Luc Picard said today……….”Hatred becomes comfortable like old leather” or as Chief O’Brien said to the Cardassian in Ten Forward……”I dont hate you Cardassian….I hate what you made me become”.
And really thats my stance. Maybe I did not do the things Martin McGuinness did. Yet maybe he is a greater man than I am because of the journey which he made/is making. Maybe I really am a lesser man for not being willing to travel the shorter distance from where I was to where I am today.
At 60 years of age, I have seen the Future and frankly I do not like it. I am more comfortable with the Past.