Politics Should be Inspirational, not Immoral

Or, why I prefer the West Wing over House of Cards

If you spend enough time wth me (about 5 minutes in a political setting, 10 minutes anywhere else), you’ll discover my *slightly* unhealthy love of the West Wing. (No, seriously, I can name the episodes titles, season and episode numbers, and my favorite moments from them). Though, for someone who loves both quality TV and political shows, you may wonder why I’m not equally obsessed with say, Scandal and House of Cards. Here’s why: those shows, while great in their own ways, portray the dark side of politics. (Disclaimer: I’m going off what I’ve heard, I’ve only seen a few episodes of Scandal and part of the House of Cards pilot). That’s not what politics should be. Politics shouldn’t be all dark, shady backroom deals and people clawing their way to the top. It should be public servants trying to make the world better, listening to people and trying to expand their worldviews. Now, I’m not naive. I know that we need to make deals and occasionally sell out our ideals and ideas and compromise. We need to listen to and interact with the “enemy.” We all need to find our own Ainsley Hayes. But, even Ainsley Hayes, who disagreed with the Bartlet White House on just about everything, recognized the good they wanted to do. In her words, they were righteous and they were patriots. Politics, at its core, is public service. It shouldn’t be perceived as people just trying to get power (though a lot of times it is). It should be people trying to help. That is why I love the West Wing–the Bartlet White House wanted to help people, wanted to make a change, make the world better. They were willing to fight and listen and compromise and even get shot for their beliefs. If people view politics only as something for selfish people to gain power, eventually, the system will absolutely, fundamentally, fail us. For politics and the government and the country to work, we need to believe that it can be an instrument for good. We need to believe that we can get involved ourselves, that we will be listened to. The moral of the story, I guess? Instead of getting fed up at the system, go out and change it. Go vote in elections (even if you want to troll the White House Deputy Chief of Staff or in the process).