Cory Booker: Star Trek Shows that “We’re Going to Unite as Humanity”

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker has made no secret of his love for Star Trek. And a new interview last week in the New York Times focusses on just that.

The interview starts with the fact that Booker spent the month leading up to his candidacy rewatching all of Voyager, and ends with a discussion of his favorite Star Trek episode (spoiler alert: it’s “The Inner Light”). But far from being just another politician attempting to prove their “relatability” through fandom, Booker spoke candidly about the values from Star Trek that shaped who he is and still speak to him today.

It was Booker’s father, Cary, who got him into Star Trek. According to the New York Times piece, he introduced Booker to The Original Series, after it had gone off the air. But when asked what his father saw in Trek, Booker said, “It was hope. ‘Star Trek’ was more than just an escape. It was a portal to say the future is going to be different. It’s incredibly hopeful and a belief that we’re going to get beyond a lot of these lines. We’re going to unite as humanity. It’ll be a place where your virtue guides you, the highest of human aspirations.”

In the course of the interview, Booker revealed that his favorite captain is Captain Picard. He said, “I do love how profoundly intellectual he is and how reasoned and thoughtful. [...] There’s something about his style that I’ve just found compelling.”

It will come as no surprise, then, that Booker’s favorite episode is “The Inner Light”. The Star Trek: The Next Generation season five episode saw Captain Picard live a whole life in the blink of an eye. “The episode really broke me up,” said Booker. “For my dad, who lived this incredible life, in the end, he fell into dementia. I think he started to lose perspective on the achievements of his life. In many ways, I was taught by him that we think life is about the big battle. The big election. The big win. But really, I think what my dad taught me [...] was that really, life is about the small moments. The every day acts of human kindness. There’s something beautiful about that episode that just talked about a life well lived.”

Cory Booker is due to participate in the Democratic Party’s third presidential debate, this Thursday, September 12th, in Houston, Texas. The debate will be aired live on ABC and Univision.

This article was written for the podcast Daily Star Trek News.

Alison Pitt is the writer, producer, and host of Daily Star Trek News, on the Roddenberry Podcast Network. A veteran Star Trek podcaster, she started her career on the weekly show Priority One: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast in 2015. She has appeared on panels at Star Trek Las Vegas, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic Con.

Alison Pitt