I’ve been indulging in re-watching “The West Wing”. This was a family show in our house, my husband, son and I were still a new family at the time. The show made us talk about issues and real politics. I had the pleasure of amazing actors develop roles and the lightning-flash dialog. Not to mention Martin Sheen, an actor I’ve admired since childhood.
As a girl, my parents were sure to mention that Martin Sheen was a Catholic, and how he created his acting name from Rev. Fulton Sheen. And the character Jeb Bartlett, played by Sheen, is a devout Catholic. I’ve always wondered why the creator of this show had this strong thread within the show. Could be simply that it adds a bit of gravitas to the show, so it’s for drama’s sake, but I’m inclined to think that it came from character development with Mr. Sheen. And the audience, getting to look behind the fictitious doors at the White House, wants to see a spiritually centered president.
It’s fun to see how technology has grown since this show. The characters have cell phones with antennas and separate pagers. The computers are large CRT screens, only CJ seems to have a laptop and you don’t see her carrying it around. This TV president nominates a Latino for the Supreme Court, albeit a male, but it is a step.
But what made me pause right now between episodes on a Friday night is my ‘aha!’ moment. I’ve been keenly aware this past year or so, that women access to health care is shriveling. Use the term “legitimate rape” uttered by elected officials who are lawyers, who know, should know, that rape of any kind is a felony. I had hoped that this disturbing course of thought in our day to day culture would evaporate after the Presidential election but it did not.
Watching this television show, created in a time when traditional networks crafted beautiful programs and gave them time to take hold, I see our future. I see where we are and why women of all kinds and colors are being attacked again only for our gender, and that is the Republican Party is afraid the next president will be a woman. It may be they fear, distrust Hilary Clinton. I don’t know. But it’s really fun to think about stealing their thunder.