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why I can’t stop rewatching the West Wing and refuse to like this country although I love it

November 11, 2018

I was very late to the party on a bunch of stuff related to popular culture, music and celebrity gossip from about 1990-1995ish. I was traveling, living on boats without TV, no car and was traveling in the months I was not working in the best place on earth, Provincetown MA on Cape Cod.

So, then, after about 1995 my mom died and then we moved and then I had a premature baby and then another regular baby and nursed for 7 1/2 years in a row and then whew, back to popular culture thanks to children.

SO,  I missed watching the West Wing when it was first airing but have watched the whole series, I think I am currently on my fourth time. I have watched the entire series almost 3 times (currently watching for the third) since potus 45 was “elected’. It comforting. It reminds me, even though its TV, that a smart articulate non-racist malignant narcissist may again occupy the presidency of the USA.

I am almost 48 years old and remember a former actor and governor of California being elected to potus. Watching the election returns with my grandparents they seemed to know all about the guy, the new potus. When I asked how they knew him since we lived in Maryland and not California and this was when we still only had like 5 channels on TV, rotary phones and no internet, they replied-laughing-” he used to be an actor!”. That seemed crazy to me and i legit asked, “how can he be president if he was an actor before?” they explained he was the governor of California and then ran for potus. I remember nodding my head as if I knew and understood the pipeline from acting in Hollywood to potus. But I didn’t, I still don’t. Not that the people with years of experience in politics would do a really good job at it either but it makes more sense, maybe, I guess?  I have always thought being potus would suck and that anyone who wants to do that job must be, to a small degree crazy and kind of a jerk (all that power, all that compromising, all that diplomacy, all that travel, all those choices, all those times you decide some people will die-sounds terrible).

So, here I am watching the West Wing again, for the 4th time because I am starving for smart people who can admit when they are wrong, who are articulate and are dedicated. I know its TV. I get it. But I don’t think that usually, the people in the WH are dumb and horrible. Maybe some, but not most. Most are what I see right now. There was recently an election and its filled with women, people of color, various religious backgrounds, and many LGTB folks. The various branches of the government are starting to look like our country a little bit more. We have a long way to go but we are getting closer. The WH, on the other hand, looks a bit like, well, I am not really sure what we look like right now. I think it looks a like a bunch of our country that because of the pink bubble I reside in,  I was only aware of in a peripheral sense. Now, I see. I see where are horribly racist. Sexist. Dangerous. Violent. Oppressive and cruel. We have always been this. We are still this and because of potus 45, we are getting worse.

So, I will watch the West Wing, keep voting, keep demonstrating, keep donating to campaigns I believe in and give unabashed elevator speeches to people I meet about how we can be better than this and the politicians who can help us get there. My bubble has popped, I no longer feel good about my former pink cloud and that is okay. I am not threatened and I am not deterred. I feel connected, responsible and determined to not actively make things worse, to not passively make things worse and to actively make things better.


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