Trek Against Trump: Armin Shimerman interview

Why the Star Trek cast are opposed to a Donald Trump presidency

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The US Presidential election is getting more heated than ever before, with various famous figures weighing in on the debate, from Joss Whedon’s Save the Day video to Robert De Niro saying he’d like to punch Donald Trump in the face.

Now, the Star Trek cast have joined in, signing a statement under the banner ‘Trek Against Trump’, laying out why they believe Donald Trump is the antithesis of everything Star Trek stands for.

Trek stars past and present, including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, George Takei, Wil Wheaton, Simon Pegg, and creatives like JJ Abrams and Bryan Fuller have all put their name to the statement.

Armin Shimerman, who played Quark in Deep Space Nine, was the man who began Trek Against Trump, although he stresses that many others contributed to the final statement. We caught up with him at the Destination Star Trek convention at the NEC in Birmingham to hear all about how the statement came together, and what Star Trek stands for.

 

Why did you start Trek Against Trump?
I started it because I certainly did not want to see Donald Trump become President of the United States. And as I watched the polling numbers get closer to each other, my fear that he might become President increased.

I was at a convention during early September, a holiday in the States called Labor Day, and I was backstage with a lot of the other actors and friends of mine, and we were all concerned about the possibility of a Trump candidacy. I went home and was watching the news, and Hillary Clinton in one of her speeches said we all must do something to help, and I thought, “Well, what can I do to help?” And I thought,”Well, I by myself can’t do very much, but I’m part of a community of actors who all felt the same way.”

And I thought if I galvanised all the people together, then perhaps we as a unit, as a community, could make a difference… I don’t think that we can necessarily educate people to vote one way or the other, but what we hope to do is get people to join the national conversation, and if people will talk to each other we believe it becomes quite obvious who is the better candidate.

 

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Star Trek actor Armin Shimerman set up ‘Trek Against Trump’.

Do you think Star Trek primes the fans to be quite interested in social issues?
Well, Star Trek has always been about social issues. All of the vignettes, whether they’re The Original Series or the last series, they’ve always been about social issues. Many people say, “Well, Star Trek was never political,” and I disagree with that. Every time the crew of the Enterprise violated the Prime Directive they were being political.

So I think it was a natural fit between Star Trek and politics… and it’s not just the actors [signing the statement]… it’s the entire community of Star Trek saying we think a Trump candidacy is not good for our country. And at the end of our campaign we ask people to register to vote.

 

How do the themes of Star Trek tie in with Trek Against Trump?
The main themes of Star Trek are teamwork, science, hope and a better future. Star Trek has always been about creating a better future. We think that this particular campaign that we’ve embarked on is to make a better future.

 

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