We, the Rebel Alliance, do therefore in the name—and by the authority—of the free beings of the Galaxy, solemnly publish and declare our intentions:
- To fight and oppose you and your forces, by any and all means at our disposal;
- To refuse any Imperial law contrary to the rights of free beings;
- To bring about your destruction and the destruction of the Galactic Empire;
- To make forever free all beings in the galaxy.
To these ends, we pledge our property, our honor, and our lives.
Until about two months ago, I was really into the Empire in the Star Wars universe. Darth Vader was cool and the bounty hunters were awesome, and the Death Star was bad ass, and Star Destroyers were amazing.
And then America elected (barely and with interference from a hostile foreign power) a Fascist know-nothing who has so much contempt for our country and the people who live in it, he has chosen men and women who have no experience in government and/or aggressively hate the agencies they will be charged with overseeing to lead them. He’s instigated dangerous international diplomatic incidents that threaten the safety of all of us, and he doesn’t seem to care.Though he lost the popular vote by the largest margin in history, though he will take office (unless the Electoral College acts to preserve the Republic — I’m still in Bargaining, it turns out) with the lowest approval rating in this century, though he has never held a public office or cared about anyone other than himself in his life, he and his toadies are acting like he has a mandate to destroy the popular, progressive achievements of the last century, and enact policies that will greatly harm the very people who voted for him.
Neonazis have been welcomed into the mainstream of America, and their leaders have been normalized by our media. An unabashed authoritarian is set to take control of the most powerful office in the world, with the most invasive and unaccountable spying apparatus in history at his tiny orange fingertips.
All of that was going through my mind as I watched Rogue One last weekend, especially during scenes that take place in cities that are under occupation. I realized that I’d sort of known on some level that Star Wars was, at its core, an anti-Fascist story, and I’d understood that the bad guys were, like, bad … but it was all in the fiction for me. Until this weekend, it wasn’t something I’d ever really felt as a commentary on reality. After a lifetime of being entertained by Star Wars, it landed on me in a way that it never had, before. I didn’t want to like the Empire, or admire how cool it was when Vader uses the Force to choke someone. I wanted the Empire to lose, and to lose badly. I wanted the Empire, and the Emperor, and the Sith to be destroyed. Retroactively, Darth Vader’s redemption in Jedi was more powerful than it had ever been, and I haven’t watched Jedi in years.
Suddenly, Stormtroopers weren’t just cool action figures I played when when I was a kid; they were literal stormtroopers. They were the forces of evil and terror. The fun of cheering for Darth Vader when he’s being a badass villain, believing that bounty hunters are awesome, or getting excited when the Death Star is cleared to fire and a Star Destroyer blasts ships into oblivion … it was all gone. The Empire is terrible. The Empire is evil. I realized that Yoda is right about the Dark Side of the Force and those who are seduced by it. I realized that the Republic — our Republic — is worth fighting for, and even though it feels like nothing matters at all right now, everything is terrible, and the forces of evil are going to get away with it because the so-called “leaders” in Congress put their party and their ambitions ahead of their patriotism — maybe because of that — it may soon be time to get off of Tatooine, and join the Rebel Alliance.
May the Force be with us.