"Star Trek, Dr. King and Democracy in the age of Trump" was the subject of the Honorable Wendell Griffen’s charge to approximately 100 guests at Saturday’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet hosted by the Clark County NAACP.

"Star Trek, Dr. King and Democracy in the age of Trump" was the subject of the Honorable Wendell Griffen’s charge to approximately 100 guests at Saturday’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet hosted by the Clark County NAACP.
Referring to the plot and mission of Star Trek, Griffen said the characters existed on the ship together with the challenge of being a community to explore strange, new worlds.
“We thought we were engaged in entertainment. I thought it was Science-Fiction, but as I think back on it now, Star Trek was really about community,” Griffen said.
Griffen noted events of the 1960s, such as The Cold War, segregation, riots and discrimination against women in the workplace. Going back to the Star Trek cast, Griffen said the cast consisted of people with diverse backgrounds, nationalities and genders.
“All of these people from different backgrounds and they were working to live and work together as they traveled through space to go where no one, no being has ever been,” said Griffen.
Fast forwarding to 2017, Griffen said there are people trying to replicate what the creators of Star Trek had already seen decades earlier.
Griffen also noted it was the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for people with diverse backgrounds to work together in society. He also cited Howard Thurman’s reference to “The Beloved Community.”
“Before Gene Roddenberry, you had Dr. King talking about unity. Gene Roddenberry comes in ’67 with Star Trek, and we in 2017 are still trying to figure it out because we have the age of Trump,” Griffen said.
To illustrate democracy in 2017, Griffen referred to the general election of 2016.
“Eventually we have to come to accept a reality we did not anticipate. One of the realities that we have to deal with in our democracy today is the democracy we wanted to have happen last year is not the one we have this year,” Griffen said.
While one does not have to like the outcome of the situation, Griffen said a person must learn to accept it.
“What do we do with the ‘is’ that we did not want, the ’is’ we did not hope for, but the only ‘is’ we got? Because we cannot pretend it is something else. The challenge we have is how to deal with this issue of democracy now in the age of Trump,” Griffen noted.
According to Griffen, individuals must move forward from their state of anger and denial to taking action.
“One of the things the NAACP has been doing across its history is helping people move on through various stages,” said Griffen.
Griffen noted that change must be activated.
“The situation we have can change, but it requires some action in order for it to change. The question then becomes, how do we boldly go where we need to go in the face of the forces against us?,” Griffen asserted.
Griffen believes it is important for people to work together to create the necessary changes.
“Change doesn’t happen on its own. Prayer does not change things, praying people change things. Praying people do things, move things and challenge things. Praying people make things happen and they stop things from happening,” Griffen said.
According to Griffen, change happens when people realize they have the power to change.
“One of the difficulties we have in this current moment is that so many people have forgotten we have the power to change. We have the power to vote folks in, or not go vote. The power of not voting is power that is lost,” Griffen said.
In addition, Griffen said it is important to realize that oppressors use various tricks to oppress.
“They often use the tricks of looking like what they are not,” said Griffen.
As a child, Griffen said his father and other men of his youth would use dogs to help them hunt.
“One of the things daddy and the men of my time didn’t like was a lying hunting dog. The word says if you say you love God, who you have never seen, and you hate your neighbor, who you see everyday, you are a liar,” said Griffen.
“If daddy didn’t keep fellowship with lying hunting dogs, why do we keep fellowship with lying people who lie about justice in the name of Jesus?,” Griffen asked.
Griffen said it is time for the community to move from defense to offense.
“It’s time out for being angry and sad about the election. It’s over and it’s time to move forward. We have to build bridges for those who truly want to move forward and for people who love justice,” Griffen said.