Monday, September 22, 2008

I Miss the West Wing

I don't usually read Maureen Dowd. I just don't like the amateur psychoanalysis that is the focus of most of her columns. Fortunately for me, friend of the blog ESL passed along this week's column, which she outsourced to West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin. He writes an exchange between Barack Obama and West Wing president Jed Bartlett. The whole thing is pretty funny, but this exchange was killer:

OBAMA I’m not. They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?

BARTLET Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.
I went to the Truman Presidential Library this weekend for the first time. There is, of course, a pretty significant portion of the museum dedicated to the atomic bomb. One of the features of this section is a guestbook where visitors can write about whether they believe dropping the bomb was the right or wrong decision.

For every person that wrote a critique or defense of Truman's actions based on some thoughtful argument, there were probably three who wrote things like, "Nuke 'em til they glow," or something about how President Bush was weak for not following Truman's lead.

There were literally pages and pages of these comments. I could have stood there and read the book all day, but I don't think my faith in humanity is sturdy enough right now to endure it. Aaron Sorkin's exchange above kind of captured how I was feeling on Saturday.

1 comment:

bigsmithdude said...

and yet somehow, the GOP's are blaming the dem's for bush's "buy out" idea. it's like we are living in the best (or worst) episode of the twilight zone. you know, the one with the pig faces...


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