Let Bartlett Be Bartlett

When I wrote about The Princess Bride I talked about how there are certain benchmarks of geekiness. There are certain things that I mark as sort tangible things that I chose, or was exposed to, that made me realize that I wasn’t going to ever be like the girls who I thought I was supposed to be like. (I later learned no one is exactly like those girls.)

A big one of those was watching The West Wing. I watched it because of my parents, mostly my mother. I was a middle school student. It didn’t take long for me to choose this show. Other girls my age were watching Dawson’s Creek (I wasn’t allowed to, I discovered it later and was obsessed) and crushing on impossible teen idols, and I was wondering if Leo’s alcoholism being exposed was going to lead to political fall out and crushing on Sam Seaborn.

What sixth grade girl doesn’t want a dorky socially inept speech writer who looks Rob Lowe?

Now that we’re in the last push of presidential elections, I spend a lot of time wishing that we lived in the world of The West Wing in real life. I wish we lived in a world where intelligent men of integrity were running our country and making epic speeches about the dignity of human beings and our limitless potential.

Even me, a die hard conservative, was kind of hoping for a Bartlett-esque four years from Obama. These were passionate, younger people, who wanted change. Instead, everything slowed down. Oh, we got change, in that the idealistic charismatic leader that had been elected changed in to a wishy washy shadow of every other politician.

But if this was the world of The West Wing, President Santos maybe would have been reelected, and he’d be winding down his second term. Secretary of State Arnold Vinnick would have clearly negotiated peace in the middle east. Josh Lyman and my husband Sam Seaborn would have created a legislative agenda that defended freedom and helped every one, and Sam would be gearing up his own campaign for the white house. I would be preparing for my duties as first lady by resigning from my position of running my own television network. (This is my West Wing fantasy and I can be married to Sam if I want.)

There are a lot of reasons why I hate the way politics are handled in our country. But a lot of it, I blame on Aaron Sorkin. As a teenager he led me to believe that the world of professional politics was like The West Wing.


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