Sir Patrick Stewart recently endorsed the current Black Lives Matter protests across the United States stating that he is “passionately behind the spirit of those protests.”
Stewart’s comments came in a lengthy interview with TV Guide discussing the first season of Star Trek: Picard.
When asked by Keisha Hatchett about Picard’s peaceful acceptance of death seen in the season, Stewart responds by discussing the current protests.
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Hatchett asks, “I don’t think we’ve seen a captain in the position that Picard was this season, dealing with this terminal illness and on the level that this series does. But what was interesting to me is that Jean-Luc never treated his condition like it was the end of the world. He even says, “Anyone who treats me like a dying man will run the risk of pissing me off.” So what allows Picard to have that sort of peaceful acceptance of death, which is a thing that so many people are inherently afraid of?”
Stewart responds saying, “Well, you’re speaking very much of a time that we are living through.”
He continues, “My wife and I have spent lunchtime today talking about joining some of the protests that are happening in Los Angeles because I am passionately behind the spirit of those protests of the mistreatment, abuse, and antisocial behavior and violence that is extended to African Americans, and I want to be out there. You know, you can tweet or text or FaceTime as much as you like, but I watch these things on television and I know that that’s where I want to be. ”
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He then goes on to detail his first political protest, ” I took part in my first political protest when I was 5 years old. My first act of civil disobedience was actually saying no to a policeman when I was 5 years old. So that was in the 1945, first post-Second World War, British election.”
That election was between Winston Chuchhill’s Conservative Party and Clement Attlee’s Labour Party. Attlee’s Labour Party would go on to win taking control of the British Parliament.
However, while Stewart endorses the spirit of the protests, he won’t be joining in due to the risk of coronavirus. He explains, “And yet, as my wife was explaining, what one has to think about is the other aspect of these meetings of thousands of people, [which] is that you are putting yourself at potential risk because there is another situation joint to that, which is coronavirus and staying safe.”
He concludes the question saying, “And so, the choice remains of how big a risk can you take to show support for a movement that is so essential to our society and civilization.”
Later in the interview Stewart would emphasize that he believes the Picard show is relevant because of its focus on the “philosophy of equality, regardless of race or color or gender or background.”
He explained, “The fact that, in his home, in his vineyard, in his Picard estate, he is living with two Romulans who are working for him and looking after him, taking care of him, and that would have been inconceivable back in the days of Next Generation.”
Stewart continued, “But that is another way in which his world has changed, and the philosophy of equality, regardless of race or color or gender or background, is so important a subject to us today.”
He concluded, “And you know, Star Trek has always, sometimes in very gentle ways, but has hinted at 21st century society and how there can be a metaphor for the way we live now, in the way that a science fiction television series has been written and performed.”
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Finally Stewart would conclude the interview answering what lesson he thinks people should take away from Picard.
He answered, “The one commonality of Star Trek, right up to now, up to the beginning of Picard, is there can be a better world or a better universe because the universe has shrunk by the 24th century or 25th century, and it’s something that we are seeing examples of in society today: that before we leave this life, there is much that we can achieve, that those who come after us will have better lives.”
What do you make of Stewart’s comments?