Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The West Wing Is Disingenuous; Blargh!

The Supreme Court struck down DOMA today (hooray for State's Rights) and the Facebook newsfeed is full of cheers. It reminded me of this clip from the West Wing - one of the greatest moments from one of my favorite shows ever:

The thing we need to remember about the clip is that it represents a fictionalized speech from a politician. I love the West Wing because of its idealism - it's The News Room with politics. Yet Aaron Sorkin (a very politically involved liberal) portrays the Democratic administration railing against crazy Republicans over and over again in the series. Real-life Dems then get to watch and cheer, imagining their Democratic politicians doing the same in whatever office they occupy.

The problem is that this isn't the way it works. There are a lot of crazy Republicans out there, sure. It doesn't mean that the other side is chock-full of selfless Democratics beating back these crazy policies. President Bartlett can rail against people who hate gays all day long, but where is President Obama's gay marriage bill? Sure, he finally moved to cancel Don't Ask Don't Tell, but recognizing equality isn't quite the same as eliminating one aspect of discrimination - he took a step, but never jumped.

The show is rife with similar examples. Sorkin did an excellent job of creating a President we can all love, because he's more concerned with doing the right thing than whatever's politically expedient. I'm waiting for the day Democratics actually do this. And because we know they won't, it's important we continue separating fact from fiction.

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