Tuesday, December 20, 2005
on friday night, my good tv friend, leo mcgarry, passed away. i have known and respected him since my introduction to the greatest show on television, 3 years ago. he battled alcoholism, and addiction to pain killers. he battled back from a near-fatal heart attack to be invited to be congressman matt santos's vice-presidential candidate in the upcoming election. was it the campaign that did him in? we will never know...
but here's the thing: leo mcgarry was never real. he was played by an actor, who did unfortunately die last week, but he only existed in the imagination of aaron sorkin and the millions of americans who faithfully tuned in each week. now, i realize that this is my 2nd tv related post in a row, and i do believe that tv is largely responsible for the demise western society, but in leo, and the entire cast of the west wing, i find hope.
i began watching the series for the entertainment value. i mean, c'mon, martin sheen in a weekly drama series? that in itself is awesome. but then i read (well, perused) jon stewart's "america" textbook...which i now use in my class...ok, no i don't...but there was a line in there that said something to the effect of "everything that happens in the west wing is total f$%#$% bull%$#%."
so that got me thinking...could we ever have a presidential adminstration like the bartlett administration? an administration characterized by idealism, guided by a sincere faith, willing to lead with unpopular but right decisions, viewing their role as servants of the people, but not agents of the will of the masses. they hire talented republicans to work on their staff because they know it will improve the quality of their leadership. they stay up all night to get the job done correctly. they challenge corruption and resist gravitating toward the handouts of special interests. basically, they represent the good governance, or as good as governance can be with fallible humans at the helm.
i know it's too good to be true. i know it's just television. but can't we dream? can't we aspire to be better than we are? american politics has become an imaginary domain. a place where nothing happens. imaginary people making imaginary decisions for the sake of spin and image and reelection. who will stand up and lead us to become better than we are? will anyone desiring reelection ever dare to be truthful with us, even painfully truthful?
someone, please tell me to drive my car less, or even to dispose of my suv, or to demand with my dollars more responsible forms of transportation. someone, please insist that i turn down my thermostat, recycle or reuse everything that i am physically able to, and stop going to the damn mall. someone, please show us how to serve one another and look out for one another's interest, not merely our own. someone, please raise taxes on the mega-rich to feed the mega-poor, just a little? someone, please sit down at the negotiating table with hostile nations and create real and lasting plans for peace. create, protect, support more national forests and parks. provide a plan for fair and affordable health care.,.a plan that both rewards those who take care of themselves and helps those in need. fund ailing school adequately, instead of giving up on them. educate, rehabilitate, and provide a hopeful future for those who have fallen into lives of crime. create a strategy that will truly decrease the number of abortions in America, not just outlaw the right to have one.
so goodbye leo. thanks for the leadership and inspiration, even if you don't really exist.
Posted by cory at 8:15 AM