Is it wrong that I wish I lived in the world of The West Wing instead of the real world? Even though I loved The American President, I didn’t watch The West Wing when it started and only recently started watching about a year or two ago– ironically, after Aaron Sorkin had left the show. But I quickly caught up with all four previous seasons and am now a truly devoted, truly addicted fan.
But what is is that makes me want to live in this world? Well, the Democratic White House is obvious, especially with Martin Sheen’s portrayal of President Bartlett. He’s highly educated, intelligent and talented. He’s a man of character and integrity, knows the Bible like the back of his hand, and while a devout Catholic, he is also modern and tolerant, understanding that the Bible was written a long time ago by fallible human beings. And while the show does tend to shy away from the radical policies and programs that are very unlikely to happen in real life (they often attempt them, but by the end of the episode, you realize why it’s so hard to do those types of things), there are some great moments that you can live out in this fictional world: the appointment of the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, peace (or something close to it) in the Middle East, and most recently, the rise of a woman to the position of White House Chief of Staff.
But aside from great writing, interesting story lines, and the opportunity to watch a West Wing staff pursuing Democratic party ideals, the real reason I want to live in this world is that, at the end of the day, it makes you feel good about government. It makes you feel like even those who you disagree with, even those whose ideas you would spend a lifetime fighting against are, in the end, patriots and really do have the country’s best interest at heart. It makes you feel like while the culture war is real, the left and the right can come together to do great things. It makes you believe that government really is a place that people come together to have a great debate and that even though everyone doesn’t agree how to do it, everyone shares a common goal of serving the public and making America a better place for everyone. It’s a feeling that many of us have been missing for the past four years and will most likely miss for another four.