The blessing and curse of being a combination film devotee and writer is that movie memories blend with real life ones from an age when cinema was an art. This was absolutely the case in 1982, the year Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan came out. I and two (now deceased) LA buddies went to the movies every night that year, and we saw some of the greatest, most iconic pictures ever made: Blade Runner, Rocky III, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Conan the Barbarian, The Thing, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, First Blood (the first Rambo film), Gandhi, Tootsie, An Officer and a Gentleman, The Verdict, The Year of Living Dangerously, 48 Hours, The World According to Garp, Diner, Victor/Victoria, Missing, My Favorite Year. Their level of craftsmanship seems as antiquated and unachievable to Hollywoke today as Etruscan sculpture. Modern young people, especially boys, will nevermore experience anything remotely close to the excitement we got out of it. This may be for the best, since they would also not connect — as I melancholically did — Trump’s Waco, Texas campaign speech Saturday to the gripping climax of the second Star Trek feature.
I wish I could say watching the perfectly fine speech inspired me. But instead it gave me trepidation. And not just because I would much rather see Florida governor Ron DeSantis become the Republican standard bearer for President in 2024. Should Trump clinch the GOP nomination, I would walk over hot coals to vote for him. Of course, there will be no hot coals left once the Biden Administration’s Green New Deal insanity takes firmer hold, but that’s another problem. My unease came from my impression that Trump can’t win a rigged election. Because the anti-Trumpers’ fear and loathing of him is so great, they would wreck the country before accepting it — as surely as Star Trek II villain Khan destroys an entire solar system trying to kill Admiral James Kirk.
Neither Trump’s speech nor the movie climax could have the impact they did in isolation. As thrilling as the Star Trek sequence is execution-wise, it only pays off as the culmination of Khan’s superbly written motivation for despising James Kirk — stemming from an early episode of the classic TV series. The story beats leading up to the scene go as follows:
Captain Kirk marooned Khan, his girlfriend, and crew on a hostile yet habitable planet. The planet later exploded and shifted orbit to become toxic. Khan and a few followers survived thanks to Khan’s willpower, sustained by his obsession with someday punishing Kirk. Khan gets the opportunity, only to lose it when Kirk outwits and defeats him in a space battle. At the point of death, Khan triggers a doomsday device that will destroy the surrounding solar system just to take out the starship Enterprise. He directs Captain Ahab’s last words in Moby Dick at Kirk, “To the last, I grapple with thee.… For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”
Likewise, Trump’s fine speech hit all the right notes, uplifting the vast crowd even while disturbing me. True, Trump took more blows, external and internal, than any president in my lifetime, including Nixon, and remained impressively defiant. And if anyone deserves another shot at the title, it’s him. But Leftists took him down in 2020, and they will have consolidated more power by the next election. Lamentably, too much of that power Trump himself increased, to his own downfall. And he took the country down with him.
Trump did worse than fail to bury the Deep State. He elevated it by employing its minions, like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Attorney General William Barr, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark (“white rage”) Milley, and, most suicidally, Dr. Anthony Fauci as COVID-19 front man. I can accept that Trump had little concept of the depth and determination of the forces allied against him. But those forces are still there, and stronger than ever.
In truth, no one could have foreseen one anti-Trump canard after another attaining such enduring media and political legitimacy — the Russia hoax, the white supremacist “fine people” hoax, the drinking bleach hoax, the Zelensky phone call impeachment, the 50-plus former intelligence officials branding the Hunter Biden laptop story a Russian disinformation plot, a second impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 riot, and the armed FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. Just last week, two Trump-hating prosecutors threatened to indict him on insubstantial grounds — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels, and Fulton County (Georgia) D.A. Fani Willis for a questionable quote during the 2020 election fiasco.
It would be a close race for Trump no matter who his opponent is, and he can no longer win a close one. The Democrats’ electoral corruption is too expansive and elusive. The only way to beat them is to crush them. And just one man accomplished this feat recently. Governor Ron DeSantis won Florida by nearly 19 points over slimy ex-Republican turncoat Charlie Crist. And his coattails turned the once purple state crimson red, including blue Miami-Dade County. Even the most sophisticated Democratic machine couldn’t fabricate enough votes to change a similar outcome in the next presidential election.
If any 2024 presidential contender can be compared to Captain Kirk, it’s DeSantis. Like Kirk and unlike Trump, he served in the military and saw combat. And instead of hiring Swamp-enabling prosecutors like Bill Barr, DeSantis dismissed one — George Soros-funded State Attorney Andrew Warren. Warren publicly promised to ignore state restrictions on transgender butchery and abortion. Whereupon DeSantis conveyed to him the two words Trump used to be best known for. They’re the same words DeSantis appears better suited than Trump to say to Joe Biden on Election Night, 2024 — “You’re fired.”