It’s no secret that I’m a fan of The West Wing!! OK, some might even say that I’m a bit, ummm, obsessed. Everyone knows it. Even some cast members know it.
My point: I have ZERO shame about my love of this most iconic of political dramas!! I mean, this show has it all: Political intrigue, political sparring, the duo known as Ed and Larry. The show presents us with a world in which politics is at its very best — a Washingtonian Utopia, if you will. A time when politics really was for the people and the president (that would be President Bartlet) actually had the interests of the American people at heart and wanted to make this country a better, more just, more inclusive place.
Obviously, our reality in 2020 doesn’t match that fictional paradise — if it did, I wouldn’t be raging and angry all the time!! No, our reality is the exact opposite of the world we see on the show, which is why the seven-season drama has experienced a resurgence in popularity during these dark Trump years!! The show may have ended some 14 years ago, but people are craving an escape from reality and the literal reality show president, so they’re returning to the familiar, calming tune of The West Wing’s opening theme song — don’t pretend like you haven’t caught yourself humming it at least once!!
And for some of us, we’re not so much returning to the show as we are discovering it for the first time!! Yes, the dangers of the Trump administration has driven me to seek comfort from this fictional senior staff because, well, I just need to see something that isn’t corrupt, self-serving and morally bankrupt, you know?
We started watching the show over the holidays last year and breezes through episode after episode pretty quickly!! Each walk-and-talk soothed my weary soul. Each Josh and Donna banter session melted my heart. And each rousing speech from President Bartlet filled me with a hope and optimism that I thought was long gone! Naturally, we were in mourning when we finished, but…
Lucky for us (and America), the Bartlet administration is back on the small screen with a new West Wing special that premieres on HBO Max today. The cast is reuniting to partner with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote to get people to the polls this year!
I once tweeted that this cast was going to save 2020 and it looks like I’m right. Bigly right. To see the cast of such an iconic political drama reunite during such a pivotal election year is powerful and speaks to the show’s continued influence. Because the values emphasized on the show — like the importance of public service, voting and leaving this country just a bit better for future generations — are timeless values. They’re as real and vital today as they were in 1999. And they’ll be just as vital in another 20 years too.
The show represents so much that is lacking in Washington right now and it’s soothing to get lost in a world of politics that’s actually for the people. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever get to a Bartlet-like White House ever again (I miss you so much, President Obama!), but in the end, the show gives me hope. Hope that we can turn things around on November 3rd. Hope that we can change our reality for the better. Hope that, as my mom just said, we can save our democracy.
Indeed, in the wise words of President Bartlet himself: “We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars.”
And we also reach for our BALLOTS to make our voices heard and vote out hate. Our democracy and President Bartlet is counting on us. Let’s not let either of them down, OK…???
P.S. No West Wing post would be complete without a shout-out to LemonLyman, my absolute favorite Twitter account to satisfy all my fangirl cravings!! Check it out, friends!!