Saturday, November 08, 2008

“The West Wing” and Obama´s victory

Life sometimes imitates art, and I was wondering if the spirit of “The West Wing” had something to do with the outcome of the election.

That was a show that captured the idealism of people serving their country and their president within the nasty realities of politics. Their leader was a practical man and a scholar, a man driven by a sense of history and idealism, a man whose command of language could motivate people to strive for better things.

That such a show would gain a following in the U.S. was remarkable. Americans are at heart distrustful of big government and lately have become disgusted with petty partisan bickering. We have come to distrust all politicians as craven, self-serving creatures. We regard government with suspicion and see it as a haven for sluggish bureaucrats who are just marking time until they collect their pensions.

Yet in this election, it was the candidate who talked about the ideals of government serving the people who captured the imagination of people and won the election. He stayed above the usual pettiness and appealed to people´s ideals. That such a strategy would work with the jaded electorate was remarkable.

The typical strategy of going after the abortion vote, the black vote, the immigrant vote, the retiree vote, the blue-collar vote, etc., was driven by an overarching message of belief in a system that had been completely discredited.

There was a spirit of idealism flowing through the country, an idealism that people had almost lost. And I wonder if we were perhaps prepared for such a message, made ready to respond to such a message, by the spirit of a television show called “The West Wing.”

Maybe life imitated art.

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