I’m beyond relieved that President Obama has been re-elected…and that the right wing forces of darkness have been held at bay for another four years & prevented from running the most powerful nation on the planet.
In the midst of all this electioneering, I’ve been indulging in my love of The West Wing — the best TV show ever without the words “Doctor” and “Who” in the title. Many of the long time blog readers will know of this love, as I thoroughly reviewed the final two seasons…back in the misty dawn of electronic history. Recently, I’ve been zipping around episodes across all seven seasons…and rediscovering why this series filled me — continues to fill me — with so much hope and promise. Here’s an example, from the season seven episode “The Debate”, when Presidential candidate Matt Santos rails against those on the right who have made “liberal” into a slur:
Yes, a liberal Republican; Senator, what happened to them? They got run out of your party! What did liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things, every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.
Then there are the moments of inspiration & divine…such as why we should explore Mars:
Cause it’s next. Cause we came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration, and this is what’s next.
And the moments where simplistic views of real-world issues are dismissed, because everything that matters is layered in nuance & shades of grey:
When you think of Afghanistan, think of Poland. When you think of the Taliban, think of the Nazis. When you think of the citizens of Afghanistan, think of the Jews in concentration camps. A friend of my dad’s was at one of the camps. He used to come over to the house, and he and my dad used to shoot some pinochle. He said he once saw a guy at the camp kneeling and praying. He said, “What are you doing?” The guy said he was thanking God. And my dad’s friend said, “What could you possibly be thanking God for?” He said, “I’m thanking God for not making me like them.” Bad people can’t be recognized on sight. There’s no point in trying.
When I’m in a low place…when I believe that the world can’t possibly get any more cynical…any more depressing…any more frightening…when I think the stupid factor threatens to engulf the entire planet, with no turning back…I turn to The West Wing…and I remind myself that there is still glorious genius to be celebrated and shared.