Idol Chatter

We knew this would happen. Every presidency must end. This Sunday, we’ll bid adieu to President Josiah Bartlett, his family, and the aides who worked tirelessly for him these past seven years on “The West Wing.”

“The West Wing” was more than just a wonky show that occasionally veered into the absurd–like the president’s daughter getting kidnapped–and relentlessly portrayed its characters as honest, hard-working, dedicated, and good-hearted, even when they were playing hardball politics. The series fearlessly shattered sacred cows on both left and right, skewering Republicans and Democrats alike, even as it hewed to a sort of liberalism and idealism that is, sadly, far out of the mainstream these days. It showed us that there’s another way to do politics, one that’s different from the all-acrimony all-the-time we’ve become used to. It showed us a liberal Democratic leader comfortable speaking of his inner soul and passionate about his faith, and it reminded us that there are no easy ways or quick answers when it comes to the great moral questions of our time.

When real presidents leave office, there is always–thank God–another one to quickly take their place. Love the new guy or hate him, life and politics continue. Not so for Pres. and Mrs. Bartlett, Josh, Tobi, CJ, Donna, Will, Charlie, and the others, even President-elect Santos, whose fictional world has been canceled by NBC. I’m only half joking when I wish for a president in real life who resembles Pres. Bartlett. I’ll miss you.

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