Friday, August 7, 2009

F.F.F.T. - I Miss The West Wing.

My friend Em (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit) is one of the most politically savvy people I have ever met. Each Friday she harnesses some intellect and attitude, and provides truly thought provoking opinions about key issues, many of which from the political arena. I am joining her for her F.F.F.T. (Friday's Food For Thought) today, if she hates this post I promise not to intrude on her again.

I Miss The West Wing.

It is my favorite show of all time. In fact, I own every episode of every season, and have seen each at least 4 times. My brother called me shortly after having watched the first few episodes and recommended that I turn it on, and I did. And from that day, he and I would call each other and debrief on the episode that had aired the night before. That may make us the dorkiest brothers around, but my heart loves that the West Wing helped to amplify our relationship.

The West Wing was not for the meek. In many instances, the banter or humor was so fast and subtle that you really had to pay attention to catch all the nuances. I watched each episode repeatedly because the more I concentrated, the more I understood what the writer and director were aiming for.

There were humorous episodes, some quite serious, and ones with uncoincidental ties to current events. The show proved to be a showcase or launch pad for many wonderful actors like Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Rob Lowe, and of course, Martin Sheen. President Bartlett is now the bar that actors aim for when portraying the President.

And even moreso than the speed of dialogue, or its Sahara-dry wit, the one thing that I loved most about the West Wing was how it ultimately enraptured me with something as potentially dull as government. It spoke of our nation and values in terms of what is right, and just. And reminded us what the framers intended, rather than one party's spin. That and the fact that it wasn't a reality show.

Two days ago, I walked from my car to an office building with the intention of visiting with one of my doctors. As I passed the car that was lazily parked in the building's circular drive, I noticed its rear fender.

Someone had taken the time to not only deface someone's automobile, they had PREPARED their work. They had found a picture of President Obama. They had Photoshopped and altered it, taking their time to create the desired message and theme. They had printed copies, and had packed those copies in their car with a roll of scotch tape, ready to move when they found any available Obama election sticker without an accompanying security camera.

You may remember, I didnt vote for President Obama.

And although I didnt vote for him, I certainly don't dislike the man.

That being said, I do not agree with his idea for nationalized healthcare. Nor does the doctor I visited with today who is so angry about the details of the proposal that she has made a poster that hangs in her patient waiting room.

But this particular rant is not about healthcare, it is about the person who defaced the picture of our President, and then used it to deface someone else's car. And living in a democracy, instead of spending their time calling senators or lobbying their congressperson, this individual chooses civil disobediance and immaturity instead. You could be doing something constructive other than your childish pranks, and instead, all you are accomplishing is putting YOUR face on those of us who object to the policy instead of the man.

One of my favorite scenes from the West Wing involved the quirky Debbie Fiderer(played by Lily Tomlin), who had been hired as President Bartlett's Executive Secretary. It was later discovered that she had sent a letter to the President years before suggesting that his drink be laced with poison in an effort bring attention to human rights crises. The President, although angry at what a nutjob she was, allowed her to keep her job as she had referred to him not as "Bartlett", but as "President Bartlett". She respected the office, even if she wasn't thrilled with the man.

Our system of government may be horribly flawed, but it is arguably the best thing going. And the "Presidency" is bigger by far than any one man.

Democracy is the form of government chosen when people are ALLOWED to choose.

Millions of you voted this President into office, and I hope the resulting nation is what you had hoped at the end of his term.

But in the meantime, to ALL who would oppose him, respect the office even if you don't respect the man or his values.

And to you, Scotch Tape Boy... GROW UP already.

"This country is an idea. An idea that has lit the world for two centuries...The last full measure of devotion."

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

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Em said...

Lord how I miss that show.

Thanks for the linky love as well - no intrusion, just completely flattered. Your check is in the mail.

And Photoshop Wizard, yeah, wow. Rush needs to get another hobby ;-)

(FYI: I read this a couple of times on various healthcare posts, people complaining about the news not giving President Obama complete respect by just calling him by his last name - it's an AP style rule that with the first reference of the president, it's President Obama (etc), all further references you just use his last name.

Sorry to fill up your comment section with Journalism 101 junk, but I remember that Tomlin episode, and it drove me nuts then.

Yes. Yes, I do need to get a life.)

Halftime Lessons said...

LOL Yes I have seen the last name debate as well...although I didnt realize that Journalistic rule.

That never has bothered me personally unless I feel people are doing it disrespectfully, or as an underhanded attack.

That being said, I do feel that many of the things that he is doing, like the "beer summit" dilute the Presidency much more than not calling him "President Obama" does...

And you have a life. A real nice one. ;-)

Booklover1212 said...

Very well said. The office of Presidency will always be there. You may not respect the man, but respect the office. No one knows that better than my husband who served with the Presidential Helicopter Squadron for 6 years under Clinton. While he did not vote for Clinton and disagreed with just about every single thing he stood for, he still had to put on that Marine uniform and salute him as he got off the aircraft. He told me that he salutes and respects the office.....

~ Jennifer

nicole said...

Yes! My in-laws are staunch Republicans and they forward all kinds of ridiculous emails to us that do nothing but make snide remarks and rant and rave. So frustrating. He's the president, like it or not and if we don't respect the office, how can we expect foreign powers to do so? I was a poli sci major, but lost my mojo with each successive child I think. I'm beginning to get it back though.

BellaDaddy said...

we may have differeing views, but, afterall, we have that freedom! BUT, we certaintly agree...respect, grow up...and live!


Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Well said Jay, Well said.

WILLIAM said...

Excellent post. I have no problem defacing an image of the president. I do have a problem with leaving it on someone's car.

The office of the president needs to be respected no matter who fills the seat. But with that responsibility and priviledge comes the venom of the detractors.

Sarah said...

I think you may have hit on the one big issue that turns most people (myself included)away from being involved in politics. The ugly side that does not afford differing opinions respect and a listening ear. It's a shame that a country that is built on public participation (aka democracy) would self destruct by being so disrespectful to that very participation.

PJ Mullen said...

That is a very good point. I'm not a fan of some of the things our President has done since taking office, but I was not a fan of a lot of things our former President did while in office. I think defacing his image is wrong, as I thought the bumper stickers that did the same to Bush were not appropriate. Unfortunately, there are far too many people that would rather be funny or controversial than useful in our society. I'm still educating myself on all of this healthcare reform (1,300 pages of legalese is a lot to digest), but I plan on voicing my opinion on it in constructive ways when I'm prepared to do so.

♥georgie♥ said...

love Em!
Fantastic post! That sign in your dr's office is awesome-that defaced pic of the Prez makes him look like a member of the insane clown posse-

Smallprint said...

Hey nice post - I thought I was a west wing fan - but the debriefs take it a step further. You make it sound a bit like supporting a sports team! I never miss a debrief on that!

Photoshop wiz seems to be no more than a well prepared graffiti artist. The odd bit of graffiti would get a laugh - but there is nothing funny about something taped to your car.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Maybe the owner of the car just changed their mind ;)

April said...

I'm not going to lie... the sticker made me chuckle :-) Call me immature if you must.

Momma@Live. Laugh. Pull your hair out said...

Being a Canadian how can you not agree with a national health care program????

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Y'know, I listen to NPR often (much to the chagrin of my husband) and I've noticed they call the Pres. "Mr. Obama" quite often. I wonder why that is? I don't remember GW being called "Mr. Bush". I get "Mr. President" but I don't understand the "Mr. Obama".

You'd think NPR would be his biggest fans.

Crafty Christina said...

I also laughed when I saw the sticker. The concept is great, but I don't agree with defacing someone's property with it though.

My husband and I had a lengthy discussion about this over dinner tonight. The more we learn about the healthcare plan, the more angry and scared we are.

Lee said...

My mom is really angry about his idea of Universal healthcare.
It doesn't work anywhere else. It won't work here.

That being said, I'm sorry, but I laughed my ass off at the defaced bumper sticker.

Beadiful Things said...

For crying out loud, Jay. You're apparently back and I am only just now noticing. Hi!

WeaselMomma said...

Vandalism is vandalism and should be prosecuted. I agree, respect the office even if you don't respect the man. However, making the photoshopped picture and distributing it -as long as it doesn't a contain physical threat- is a protected right under our constitution. Right up there with flag burning. I don't like it or agree with it, but would give my life to protect the right to do it.

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Good words....preach it!

ZenMom said...

Amen. Very well said.

posthumous pointer
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded. - Emerson