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Monday, November 21, 2016

Watching West Wing Now Is Like Watching Camelot

I didn't watch West Wing when it came out. I do that. I don't watch shows until they are ten years old. Something strange about cant watch popular shows when they are popular. But now I am hooked on the Bartlett Administration. The show is something out of Camelot now. The knights of the round table AJ and the rest pledge themselves to the Bartlett agenda lest they fall on their sword. Toby, Sam and the rest are errant knights running to the moral order set by the commander in chief who habitually draws a line in the sand and then crosses it but quickly confesses and then has penance. This is straight out of the Wizard of Oz  now.

Our current political climate is so different it has made the show a love letter to the early 2000s when the United States was clearly on one side of the moral card and the rest of the world was on the other. Or so we thought. Bathos and pathos rules the day on West Wing with our dedicated missionaries struggling to  find right in a tangled up recognizable Washington establishment. That world is so gone now it is hard to find where to place these characters. Especially Jeb Bartlett.

He is a brilliant man who has self knowledge and humility and takes the presidency very seriously but himself less so. The ultimate Commander in Chief  agonizing over the appointment of his secretary while ordering assassinations albeit unwillingly and then admitting to the fact. Even the opening sequence speaks of a world long ago with the flag flapping over the august black and white photos of the cast. Clearly this was designed for an American public willing to buy in that while our leaders are flawed they are basically good.

One cannot help but think or Richard Harris in the forest lamenting over the loss of Camelot. There once was a world....

Order Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Books by William Hazelgrove