Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The body from Spirit does slowly unwind until we are pure spirit at the end

A quick note here on this day of history. I have a much longer post on other topics that I’ve been thinking about, but it isn’t quite done yet. I’ll be posting it later this week, I hope. Furthermore, I feel today is far too significant to let go without mention.

We are all aware we get a new president today. I am hopeful that he might be able to turn something’s around for us, but only time will tell. Truth be told I did not vote for him, nor did I vote for the other guy. I am a bit (by bit read totally and hopelessly) a cynic when it comes to politics. I don’t speak much about it here, I don’t feel the need.

As a young man I fell head over heels in love with the “process” that we as Americans get to participate in, but the idealism that I held onto as a boy was shattered somewhere along the way by the blind faith and pedagogy that I saw as a regular practice in partisan politics. I do not affiliate with either party and feel that most politicians while presenting themselves as bastions of hope are some of the most amoral despots breathing today. Honestly I would imagine that my politics are more aligned with William Ayres then Barack Obama.

However the significance of today is not lost on me.

I am very happy that my now 15 month old boys will never know a world where the color of your skin will stop you from becoming president. Not that I think that we have somehow solved the issue of race in America, but it is a hell of a step forward. I am also very pleased with the general mood of the country as we inaugurate our 44th commander-in-chief. While conditions are less then favorable for the new head cheese he has still managed to somehow mobilize many people. I can only think that this is a good thing. However, he has a long and rough road ahead of him, and this pedantic bald guy is not going to give him a pass. After all he is a politician, not to be trusted in my opinion.

Although it is my true hope that in 4 years I am running to the polls with the biggest Obama sign imaginable. That I am screaming from the roof tops of his astounding and deft ability as a statesman. That he has declared peace in every country, housed the homeless, fed the hungry, balanced the budget, solved every problem that we are all currently facing. Somehow, I hope, he has restored my faith in the American political system. It is a lonely place when you look at your government as an enemy. Still he has my support. Just don’t blow, man.

I think that much of my cynicism originated from my television. 24 hour news stations, political pundits and comedians as journalists, news stations with an obvious political agenda it’s all a bit much to stomach. Yet nothing has solidified my distaste for the media and for our political system more than the television show called the “West Wing”.

“Wait” you say “that show was amazing.” And you would be right. I loved every second of that show. That is the problem. West Wing began its run in an age where the “reality show” was just beginning to rear its ugly head. Bachelors, unfit parents, interventions, weight loss challenges, began to saturate the air waves while West Wing unfolded its deftly written hour long drama. The show was nothing short of inspiring. Martin Sheen, Stockard Channing, Rob Lowe and a host of other A list actors took us through the trials and tribulations of holding the highest office in the land. It gave us a look at the inside of the White House and how appointees and elected officials guided our fragile country in the way they best thought. Although it was all made up, sure, based on actual events, but not a stitch of it actually happened. Still I found myself with a sense of pride that this man. Jed Bartlet, was my president. He made me proud to be an American. This is the problem. He is not real.

A fictional character was more inspiring than the real thing. I began to think about all the reality shows that proliferated the channels and it dawned on me that the only reality show that we really needed was the only one we weren’t getting. I didn’t care who was getting a rose, I cared who was getting a pardon. I didn’t care who let their kids watch too much TV, I cared about who was allowing kids to get a proper education. West Wing, while an amazing show, shouldn’t have been needed. Our own leader should have been the inspiration we sought. The White House should have the same transparency of the house from “Big Brother”. Yet we are all anesthetized by what we are spoon fed by our cable box. I hope we can all wake up and begin to make some real change. God knows we all need it.

Nevertheless, good luck Mr. President. I wish you well and I hope that in four years we do not regret our decision.

(an aside here: It has not escaped me that the President on “The West Wing” battled MS from the 2nd season on. For most of the run I had yet to be diagnosed, but found his battle an amazing dramatic devise. If only I knew how dramatic it was going to be. I have since re-watched a bunch of the episodes and his struggle with MS always hit way too close to the mark and often leaves me a bit weepy. Take a look at a few of the clips below. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it is well worth checking out.)


Tracys Ramblings said...

Like you, I am putting a lot of hope into our new head man.
Of course, I've always been a kind of "Hope for The Best, Prepare for the Worst" kind of person.
I do worry that some people are putting a lot of faith in him to fix things by next Tuesday. He is going to have to clean a lot of stuff up before he can do anything.
I do have to say that this post was so wonderfully written, Ben. I loved reading it.

pUNKrOCKfairy said...

I deeply loved The West Wing. I watched every episode. I'm from DC and grew up hating anything to do with politics but I loved that show. I also have felt disappointed with every real-life pres since Jed Bartlett, but I think the new guy's got potential. I was still one of those people who thought of MS as something scary, but didn't really know how scary or what it meant for Bartlett. I thought it was just a gimmick from the writers. Now I am even more impressed with their writing, and how accurately the portrayed both the disease, and the rest of the world's perception of it. Truly brilliant tv and I miss it. So much that I still think of CJ everytime I get on the treadmill. :)

Anonymous said...

Did you know that the West Wing character, Matt Santos, was based on Barack Obama? It's eerie how well a television program predicted what was to happen with him, huh? I loved the show, too. As a matter of fact, I found your blog because I Googled the quote President Bartlett offered that is the caption for this post.

i'm not sure why I'm commenting except that I want to wish you strength in your battle and to encourage you to let yourself believe in this new President. I'm a bit of a cynic myself, having worked in politics for the past 20 years. I had to retire because i have a lung disease and need a lung transplant.

Maybe I've become too "hopey-changey" because of my illness, but because I probably won't live long enough to have the transplant, I feel good leaving this planet with this man in charge. I am thrilled I lived long enough to see our first Black President, and I feel that the future looks brighter for my son than it has in a long time.

Best of luck to you. Take care!