9

In the new canon novel Star Wars: Bloodline, Leia's family secret is exposed in senate, and the news quickly spreads across the galaxy. In an instant, she loses all credibility, and everyone suspects her - and even Luke - of being evil. While I do understand the widespread shock, and the hatred of Vader, I can't quite grasp why the senate turns on Leia so quickly and violently.

She had previously been the most widely respected member of a deeply fractured New Republic senate, entirely because she had been such an important part of destroying the Empire. The senate, divided into Populists and Centrists, had been fighting for years, and the only event that had managed to bring them together in recent years was the dedication of a statue of Leia's adoptive father, Bail Organa, outside the Capitol Building.

Consider her history, in pros and cons:

Cons:

  • Biological daughter of Vader

  • Didn't tell anyone she was Vader's daughter

Pros:

  • Vader's sole positive contribution to her upbringing was his role in her conception. He had no part in raising her.

  • Biological daughter of Padme, virtually the only senator who resisted Palpatine's power grab.

  • Raised by Bail Organa, one of the founders of the Rebellion, and one of Vader's worst enemies.

  • Spent her life fighting against Vader and the Empire.

  • Played a vital role in the destruction of BOTH Death Stars - stealing the plans for the first one, and shutting down the shield generator for the second one.

  • Met Vader exactly three times:

    • The first time, he tortured her, blew her planet up in front of her just to be mean, and sentenced her to death.

    • The second time (in the comic books), he tried to capture/kill her.

    • The third time, he tortured Leia, along with her future husband and their Wookiee friend, then froze her future husband in carbonite and gave him to Jabba the Hutt.

  • Commanded the Rebel forces on Hoth, and led a successful tactical retreat when the Empire attacked the base.

  • Killed the criminal warlord Jabba the Hutt with her bare hands (and a chain).

  • Her brother - also Vader's biological child - and her future husband blew up the first Death Star.

  • Her brother is believed to have killed Vader and the Emperor.1

  • She didn't even know that Vader was her father until a few hours before he died.

This is a very one-sided record, and one that demonstrates that Leia has done two things wrong: Being conceived by the wrong guy, and not telling people he had conceived her.

So why did almost everyone - including her political allies and friends - turn on her simply because her dad sucked, despite the fact that she clearly despised Vader, and Vader clearly wanted her dead?


1: From Star Wars: Bloodline:

“How dare you question him?” Leia knew her voice sounded too sharp, too shrill, but her temper had gotten the best of her. “After everything Luke’s done for the Rebellion and the New Republic? Maybe Lady Carise has forgotten that he was the one who destroyed the first Death Star — or that he was responsible for ridding the galaxy of Palpatine —”

  • See also scifi.stackexchange.com/a/134460/4918 "After Darth Vader was killed, did Luke tell anyone that he was his father?" – b_jonas Jul 15 '16 at 19:48
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    Perhaps because a lot of what happened in the films needs to be taken on trust. I can't recall any instance of video-footage of the actual events of her capture, torture, rescue, etc. It all seems to happen in spaceship corridors and rebel bases. It would be quite easy to imagine that it was actually propaganda. – Valorum Jul 15 '16 at 19:58
  • @Valorum - Possible, but - especially re: Vader and Palpatine's deaths - not likely. Luke is (presumably) seen by Rebels on Endor with Vader's corpse; he says "Vader and Palpatine are dead", no one ever hears from either of them again, people believe it so easily that they pull down the statue of Palpatine on Coruscant that same week. A year later, the Empire surrenders. Coincidence? Maybe, but I would hope that most people would accept the obvious explanation rather than put on tin foil hats. – Wad Cheber Jul 15 '16 at 20:07
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    Because the winds of politics are fickle. And politicians seek more power for themself while simultaneously harboring jealousy of those with more power than themselves. – Xantec Jul 15 '16 at 20:07
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    @WadCheber - And yet it's all hearsay and amazing stories and then all of a sudden you find out that not only is she a liar, but she's also (presumably) gifted with Vader's Jedi mind-bending powers. That makes her dodgy. – Valorum Jul 15 '16 at 21:09
11

Politics.

In politics, any reason to discredit your opponents is a good reason. It doesn't matter if the discrediting is justified or reasonable. As long as it helps to turn away support from some of those people who compete with you and rally more people behind yourself it is worth it.

Fact is Leia knew about her father's identity and was silent about it. That alone is reason to question her trustworthiness as a political figure.

Why would that also turn people away who were her allies? Because it is unwise for a politician to stay allied with someone who just went onto a political downward spiral. Keep supporting them and they will drag you with them. Good politicians don't have permanent allies or enemies anyway - just people who currently further or hinder their interests.

  • 1
    8 upvotes for answering a question about a book I didn't even read a synopsis of. Not bad. – Philipp Jan 21 '17 at 18:26
9

To expand on Philipp's answer a bit, it was political momentum, not just politics.

Political momentum occurs when a story, and its implications, becomes wrapped up in the emotion of the revelation. The more sudden and scandalous a news story, the more people talk about (and how they feel). The more they talk about it, the more emotions are dredged up and the faster opinions change. This is part of the art of politics. You don't just drop a bomb on someone, you drop it so it causes people to project their negative feelings on the target. Consider the passage where it's revealed (emphasis on emotions mine)

Uproar swirled around Leia, surrounded her. She could hardly hear the shouts, stamps, whistles, and pounded desks from the senators over the rushing of blood in her own ears. Her breaths came shallow in her chest, as if Ransolm Casterfo’s revelation had wound itself so tightly around her that she would soon suffocate.

And

Bail Organa, who had so often spoken out in the Old Republic and Imperial senates, who had possessed the courage to stand against Palpatine when nearly every other planetary leader had bowed to the Emperor’s power, uttered his last words to the public from the music box, played on every speaker, to be reproduced by every news source around the galaxy within moments. “Your father has become Darth Vader.”

The shouting rose again, even louder than before. Leia bit the inside of her cheek, struggling to keep some small measure of her composure. Her father — her real father — had had the foresight to store this somewhere offplanet. He had given Leia the truth in the only way he could. And the Senate had repaid his service and his love by using it to humiliate his daughter. She felt a moment of dull gratitude that at least Bail had never known this; he’d never had to face just how terribly his message had been used against her.

This was all done in the Senate chamber, not just for the public record, but the cameras. The most respected person in the room held a deep, dark secret and her political opponent held incontrovertible truth that the universe's greatest villain had a daughter and that she was the center of the New Republic. Even in our society, that would dominate every headline and news cycle for days.

The way this came out would overshadow everything she had ever done. Who cares that she was imprisoned and interrogated by Vader? Who cares that her planet was blown up by his aid? She was Darth Vader's daughter. They couldn't hold Vader responsible anymore but they could hold her accountable. Every wrong he did would now be directed at her. The damage was done. At this point Leia was toxic. Nobody would understand why she kept it secret. Allies who still felt empathetic would protect their own interests first. Even if they wanted to, they could not help her out of this. The political momentum had shifted.

5

seems like many think the apple won't have fallen far from the tree:

"Can you imagine if she'd been elected? How long would it have been before we were all bowing down before another Vader?"

-Bloodline

(Kindle edition, so page number is....fluid)

  • 4
    Right. Don't forget, what better way for a pair of upstart Dark Side users to gain power than to kill Palpatine and Vader, then insinuate themselves into the Republic? – Adamant Jul 15 '16 at 20:38
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    @Adamant - SHHHHHHH! Don't blab! – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 16 '16 at 2:50

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