The West Wing - Life Should Imitate Art
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"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton
If you're "one of us" you watched the election on The West Wing Sunday night. You shared the pain of Leo's loss and the joy of Matt Santos' win. And you saw a revised but credible recreation of the real 2000 presidential election.
It made me angry all over again. If only George W. Bush possessed the sterling character of the fictional Arnold Vinick. The West Wing's Republican standard bearer served his country honorably as a soldier, a Senator and a candidate.
The fictional Vinick refused to use lawyers to trump an election. He didn't have a brother oversee a vote recount in a pivotal state. He stood up for Let the Best Man Win. He had principles. Scruples. A belief in Fair Play. And in the American people.
The all too real George Bush wouldn't know Fair Play if it bit him in the ass. His principles go to the highest bidder. He has shown only contempt for the country and the citizens he governs.
Yes, the West Wing is fantasy. But it's grounded in reality, depicting events and circumstances faced by presidents, politicians and everyday people throughout recent history. Yet its idealism and high-minded tone are derided as escapism.
I'm appalled that critics and viewers alike find it so unbelievable that our leaders in the real world would ever take the West Wing's high road. Do the right thing. Show respect for our country, it's laws and its people. But they're right. It'll never happen under George W. Bush.
So I'll take Matt Santos. Arnold Vinick too. And in my perfect fantasy, Santos would view the death of his running mate as an opportunity to do something bold and brave. He'd ask Arnold Vinick to become the country's Vice President.
This intelligent, articulate, creative show is history anyway. Why not go out with a historic bow to the brightest hopes in all of us.