What the ■■■■ does “Great Again” mean?
What previous union would you have us return to, that we were great then and somehow lost our way? Were we great in the First Union, before the advent of FTL communications, scrambling after emergency after emergency, always arriving days too late to prevent the latest pirate raid, the next Mannar annex, the incoming ecological disaster? I’m sure, as a person who uses the rhetoric of a patriot, you don’t need me to explain our failure that led to the Aclan Agreement. No, surely you don’t mean the years before we invented drones, like the caretaker drones, who freed our peoples to choose lives of “slothful eases,” safer lives which I see you find distasteful, but these generations since have spent pursuing ever-higher education and inventing wonders which hold the admiration of the cluster. I will even overlook the fact that you likely indulge in the use of these technologies yourself for select applications of slothfulness - I’m sure you use such a drone to look after your elderly family members, as many others have before you, freeing you to make posts like this on the IGS, or allowing you to enter the capsuleer programme.
I will do you another favour and assume you don’t mean the Second Union, although one may be tempted to assume birthing FTL communications has been our chief achievement. I will assume “Great Again” does not refer to our greatest shame, to the rise of fascists and the fall of democracy. You may sound like an Ultra-Nationalist, but I choose to hope you are not one who would ruthlessly bombard civilian populations, not one who would send military forces to occupy the halls of governance in every member state with a dissenting voice, not one who would spit on the concept of interstellar cooperation. Not all readers on this forum will do you the same favour, especially not the Caldari who know the dangers of your rhetoric, so you may wish to consider that in your future posts.
I still fantasize that we successfully hunted each and every Ultra-Nationalist down and instructed them in the merits of the guillotine. That’s reason enough for me to hope for better from you.
If you were to say that we were great in President Yiona’s time, the Third Union- Oh, I’d be tempted. It’s hard not to look back and admire the strength and courage it would have taken to stage an invasion of Central Garoun, to slam fists against the palace walls of a dictator, not knowing if that dictator would then turn the warships to our skies and bombard. To do that through uncertainty and win? Oh, I’d be tempted. But it’s hard to admire Yiona’s reforms, the birth of the supreme court, the constellation territory limits and the creation of districts without the pressing reminder that the lack of them at our founding was a mistake, and to celebrate the too-late righting of a wrong, after so many had already suffered for it, is the kind of folly that allowed U-Nats to usurp power in the first place.
I’m sure you won’t consider the Third Union the time we were great for a different reason. I’m sure you care more about the beginning of the war, because we were losing. We were losing bad. We lost Sinq Laison, Verge Vendor, parts of Essence. We wouldn’t recover Sinq Laison for decades, and even then, we recovered land and bodies - not living souls. That might just be a distant insult to pride for you, but this is my home. It’s not a pain we’ve forgotten.
But maybe, maybe it’s the Fourth Union that was great. Kidding, that’s ridiculous. We were still bogged down in a forever war, the Caldari capsule tech was kicking our arses, and the Mannar lost their homeworld. Sure, we helped the Minmatar rebel (a fact, as you’re seeing, some of them wish wasn’t true) but we hardly handled the issue of the Empire. Because we were too busy with what? What were we ■■■■■■■ trying to accomplish in the Gallente-Caldari War? What were the win conditions supposed to be? At that point, even if we magically won and made every State Caldari a full-fledged citizen, they would have easily been the largest identity of voters in the Federation. They would have been in full democratic control, majority of senators and even able to elect a full State Caldari president. Was that what we wanted?
I believe the most likely candidate for whatever you must mean by “great” would be the Fifth Union. An odd sentiment, because it wasn’t a time illuminated by the “lights of sacrifice and high endeavour,” unless you mean the sacrifice of pride and the high endeavour of apologising. I doubt that, but given that no other Union seems more likely, it seems as though it’s the only viable option. I’ve heard time and time again the sad refrain that “If only Elabon were alive–!” as if President Elabon could have steered us through these innumerable and immeasurable challenges we’ve faced in our Sixth Union. I daresay Elabon would not have been able to talk sense into Heth, and that Seyllin would have still exploded. Perhaps he would have made us feel better about the tragedies we’ve endured, and maybe that would be enough.
I don’t believe, however, that one great man made us great, just as I don’t believe your “strong voice of the Federation” is one voice, or one “destiny,” or one “soul.” Whose voice would that be? The Intaki voice, if we all conveniently overlook President Villers and the breadth of her mistakes? The Mannar voice, which is still so angry about the loss of their home? The Jin-Mei voice? I know you don’t mean the ethnic Gallente voice, quiet though it is now that there are so much fewer of us. We tried that, that “standing firm.” It was a mistake we’re still struggling to make amends for. If anything makes us better - I would never claim great - it’s our ability to recognise our mistakes and learn from them, and that can only improve with the passage of time. We’re better now than we have been before. That’s enough.
If you want heroism, go to the warzone and leave the rest of us out of your rhetoric. It’s a good time to be on the Federation side of the warzone. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your stay.