George Takei

“Well, it gives, certainly to my father, who is the one that suffered the most in our family, and understanding of how the ideals of a country are only as good as the people who give it flesh and blood.”

Even though George Takei’s run as Sulu on the original Star Trek television series was before my time, his impact on popular culture has reverberated through the generations. He has also helped to shape the mainstream perception of Asian Americans and he has been very influential in the fight for gay rights. He’s also quite insightful.

The quote above is particularly apt, as it happens to be an election year in the United States. Yes, our political leaders get on their soapboxes to debate this issue and that, but we are naturally skeptical about whether they will live up to their promises. Saying that you stand for one ideal, only to have your actions speak completely counter to it, is a big reason why there is a widespread distrust of politicians.

But it’s not just about politicians. It’s not just about Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or Ron Paul. It’s about you and me, as citizens of this global village. Takei talks about the ideals of a country, but we also have to consider the ideals of the international community and of society at large. What do you stand for? What is important to you? How does this affect other people?

It’s up to each and every one of us to stand up for our ideals, lest we allow someone else to give them “flesh and blood,” perverting our ideals and morals into something else altogether. In a democratic society, you have the privilege of choosing your leaders. You have the privilege of choosing who gives voice to the issues that matter to you.

Yes, George Takei might be participating in Celebrity Apprentice and posting funny pictures on Facebook, but he is also an activist and a philosopher. Oh my.