I often wax poetic (well, I often babble semi-incoherently and teary-eyed) about Bail Organa bowing his head in sorrow at the very end of Attack of Clones. That moment made Bail Organa the love of my life. It is one of my favorite moments in not just Star Wars, but cinema. The sun is setting as thousands upon thousands of soldiers march onto an enormous fleet of starships. All of both manufactured explicitly to fight a war and build an Empire. The Imperial March surges. Palpatine and his minions watch stone faced. Only Bail Organa looks away.
The Inevitability of Death
In the Star Wars prequels, the rise of the Empire is inevitable. The story already happened, long ago and far away. Bail Organa died along with everyone on his planet not quite twenty-five years after that balcony. Or not quite twenty-five years before, depending on your point of view. Bail Organa doesn’t act in time to save himself.
But after that balcony he almost immediately starts meeting with like minded politicians to actively oppose both the war and the chancellor. They draft bills and they start petitions and they make speeches. When the clones turn on the Jedi Bail Organa flies into the burning temple to investigate, He’s turned away so he heads out to find as many Jedi as he can. To save as many Jedi as he can. He adopts a war orphan and spends the last twenty years of his life fighting the Empire. He provides funding and transportation, builds an underground network of spies and soldiers. and gathers support across the galaxy. And he teaches his daughter how to lead. He acts to save her.
The Continuity of Life
Bail Organa fails. He doesn’t save the Jedi, the Republic, Padmé, Alderaan…even Leia spends her entire life at war. Bail Organa fails at literally every single thing he tries to do. But he keeps trying. keeps going. He acts.
Right now, today, in our galaxy, in my country, the monster in charge is waging a war on us. The US has been building destroyers and armor for the troops for decades and now they are everywhere. Across the world fighting wars we started in the name of “peacekeeping” and on our own streets being used against our citizens. It is blatant and it is getting worse every day.
The current leadership of the United States is watching stone faced from a balcony. We must act.
Ways to Be Bail Organa
- Vote. Campaign. Join a political group. Run for office. Attend local council meetings. Lift up diverse voices. Demand better.
- Donate. Give money to legal aid and bail funds. Fund local community charity organizations.
- Protest. Join a rebellion. Begin a rebellion. Be aggressively anti-war. Speak out against the militarization of the police. Support the undocumented. Fight racial injustice.
- Document. Record police brutality. Write a diary. Create art. Refuse to be silenced.
- Mentor a child. Educate yourself.
Bail Organa died fighting. John Lewis died fighting. Bow your head in sorrow and then: fight.