West Wing Season Five
First non-Aaron Sorkin year, and it shows.
The West Wing didn’t jump the shark this year (the following year they did, painfully – I stopped watching), but they came close.
It was a “let’s shake it up” year, yet most of the changes didn’t (to me) work. There were moments, but – overall – very weak compared even to Season 4 (weakest of 1-4).
With apologies to Jonathan Swift, here’s a very high level response to some of the craziness that has been happening in the old US of A these days, issues such as:
There are a million more examples (health care, social security, immigration et al), the bottom line – to me – is this:
The reason much of this insanity is not addressed – and why it occurs in the first place – is politics. By politics, I mean the issue is not the issue to politicians, but the politicians’ concern is how this will harm/help re-election, fundraising and so on.
In other words, all this stuff that has great import to the average citizen isn’t getting the proper(?) attention in Congress – Are my calls to my granddaughter being intercepted and analyzed? Is there a breakdown in the checks-and-balances the Constitution enumerated? Are we in Iraq – and potentially, Iran – for the right reasons? Will I actually be able to collect Social Security a decade from now? Will I be able to get that life-saving procedure? And so on.
These questions don’t come up on The Hill. The questions are more like: Will backing this bill make me vulnerable in the 200X election? If I stay quiet about this, I probably can expect X’s support on Y, right?
While some outrage or rebuttals are legit, I see more actions/inactions that are politically based, and – again, in this entry, I mean a given lawmaker not serving his/her electors, but worrying about how to not get NOT elected next time around.
This is a problem in our democratic system (and remember – it’s a Republic, not a true Democracy – a democracy has one person, one vote: Here, it’s who you democratically elected making decision for you, and you have not direct vote there).
Which is why I have always opposed term limits – vote the bastard out if desired, why punish those that (for good or bad reasons) people want to elect over and over?
I think the current terms for Senators, Reps and President are too short. People are already calling President Bush a lame duck, yet he has about three years to go…but those pesky primaries and all that, with the full knowledge that the president can’t run again…
Back in 1776, the numbers made sense, when most members of Congress knew the 48 or so people who they represented. Today, you really think a senator from CA/NY/IL has a clue about the people (10 million +) they represent? No way.
Politicians today, for the most part, don’t represent the people – they instead act for themselves. Swap votes, curry favor, get pork not for good reasons, but to get re-elected. (Hell, who wants to be fired?)
And running for office takes a buttload of money today. More and more, we are seeing the wealthy running for office, because they can afford to. As these runners are elected, we’re seeing less and less representation of the average American in office. Which will slant policy (tax cuts for the wealthy). Look at our recent presidents – either party – with the possible exception of Gerald Ford (who wasn’t elected), all the presidents back to Eisenhower where men of means.
So, the Not-So-Modest-Proposal is to try to fix the morass politics is mired in: Fear of losing funding/elections. That is their focus; it is not what they were elected for.
I don’t have the answers, but these are some of the questions I have, some of the realities I see.
It ‘taint pretty.