I am in mourning today. My all-time favorite tv show aired its series finale last night…West Wing is over after 7 wonderful seasons. I never missed an episode. I loved the characters and I was fascinated by the inside peek at what governing might be like. In a pretend letter to ‘West Wing’s’ President Bartlet, columnist Frazier Moore described what I loved most about this show:
"A weekly display of intellect, wit, conscience and high drama, it has explored possibilities for statesmanship that seem rare in the real corridors of power."
While talking about the important issues of the day, West Wing never talked down to us…the dialogue was fast-paced and you had to pay close attention to keep up. Unlike most of the fare available during prime time, West Wing required that you participate intellectually as well as emotionally if you wanted to get the most enjoyment out of viewing. No easy answers were offered for the difficult challenges our leaders face, but often good questions were raised. In fact, some weeks the issues raised inspired me to try to learn more about a particular topic. This season’s campaign and election drama between characters played by Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda were, in my opinion, some of the best of West Wing’s 7 year run. Both candidates fought hard, but with honor, humility and respect for the privilege of serving. In his article about the end of West Wing, Stuart Levine gave voice to the way that this show appealed to the idealist in me:
“West Wing” taught us that, despite the mudslinging that can create a stench in Washington, politics can remain a noble profession. The selfless men and women who serve do so not out of ego, but out of wanting to make government both a beacon and a safety net for the benefit of others.
So, thank you President Bartlet, Mrs. Bartlet, Toby, Josh, Leo, Sam, Will, C.J. Donna, Charlie, President-Elect Santos, Arnie, and all the rest, it was a great ride and I will miss you!!