For the past couple of weeks, Garry and I have been watching (again) all 7 seasons of “The West Wing.” Aside from being a brilliantly written show, it clarifies where we are as a nation. That we are fighting exactly the same battles today we were battling 10 years ago. They are using the same words on the show we are using now. They are fighting the same “refusnik” Senate we have been fighting. Maybe it’s worse now, but it was not much better then.
As you watch the show, it produces a lot of responses:
- Realizing there were actually some good television shows with great dialog.
- Recognizing the mistakes Democrats made, mostly by trying to be everything to everybody and never being themselves.
- Failing to recognize issues which needed to wait until another day would become life and death issues in less than a decade. For example, all those environmental issues they ignored or avoided because it would anger contributors or Republicans or their own members.
- Never really confronting the gun issue or immigration.
- Often doing half a job and never completely dealing with major issues.
The show is so well written that you see how and why they fail and why even the successes aren’t really successful, how many bills were essentially toothless.
Middle of the road is not a safe place to drive and this show has a liberal president who is essentially afraid to be the liberal he really is. He’s always trying to placate someone and the results leave you wondering if he really accomplished anything. When you drive in the middle of the road, you are very likely to crash into another car or truck or pedestrian.
The show is so well written you feel as if you are actually participating in a government. Our government. Because whatever is wrong with their televised version of “The West Wing,” it is a government. They try very hard to do the right thing. Even though they often don’t get where they should go, they do the best they can. They work very hard. Win, lose, or partly succeed, it was a government, though I think people on it were a bit more clever and witty than they are in real life.
It’s playing continuously on Netflix. These days, because we have been down the Obama and now the Trump path, we know where those decisions lead and why it wasn’t the right way to go. We watched the whole series during the last few weeks and when we ran out of shows, we decided to watch it again. It fills a gap in our lives. It makes us feel that somewhere in the ether, a better government awaits us.